The General Assembly of the Middle East Council of Churches will meet, hosted by the Coptic Orthodox Church at LOGOS Papal Center at St. Bishoy’s Monastery, Wadi El-Natrun, This will take place between May 16th to 20th, 2022, under the title of “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27).
This is the first time that the General Assembly will be held in Egypt. The General Assembly has been held eight times in Cyprus, twice in Lebanon and once in Jordan.
The Middle East Council of Churches is an association of churches that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Holy Books, as stated in the Apostles’ Creed Code and the Nicene Constantinople Creed. These churches together strive to fulfil their common aim to the glory of the one and triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The council derives its power from the collaboration of the Christian member Churches, which includes the four ecclesiastical families:
– The Eastern Orthodox Family:
The Coptic Orthodox Church, The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and all the East, and The Armenian Apostolic Church. These Churches have been founding members since 1974.
– The Orthodox Family:
The Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and all of Africa, the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and all the East, the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem and the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus. These Churches have been founding members since 1974.
– The Evangelical Family:
The National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, The National Evangelical Union of Lebanon, The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, The Evangelical Church of Egypt (Synod of the Nile), The Episcopal Church of Sudan, The Evangelical Church of Sudan, The Presbyterian Church of Sudan, The National Evangelical Church of Kuwait and the Protestant Church of Algeria. These Churches have been founding members since 1974.
– The Catholic Family:
In 1990, this ecumenical council was completed with the membership of the Catholic Family, which gathers the seven patriarchates of the Middle East. These are: The Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch, The Melkite Greek Catholic Church, The Coptic Catholic Church, The Syriac Catholic Church, The Chaldean Catholic Church, The Latin Church of Jerusalem, and The Armenian Catholic Church. This family joined the Council in the Fifth General Assembly, which was held in 1990.
Thus, the Council became an ecumenical body, in the full sense of the word.
The Council’s Goal:
According to the official system of the Council, its goal is to deepen the spiritual communion between the Churches of the Middle East, by unifying their words and efforts. This contributes to the work towards the unity of the Churches, which will lead to them becoming a living witness of the Gospel, aiming to spread the messages of: salvation, reconciliation with the Lord Jesus Christ, love, peace and justice in the region of The Middle East and between its nations.
The Council works via its various organizations to achieve the above mention goals, through:
– local, regional and global discussions between Churches, promoting the spirit of fellowship and ecumenical awareness.
– providing means of education and common purposeful research for explanation of the traditions of the member Churches, mutual enrichment and encouraging fellowship through prayer.
– cooperation and joint work, for humanitarian services and achieving justice, freedom, peace, and equality in citizenship, rights and duties.
– developing and supporting systematic communication, towards a mutual understanding, to promote and consolidate peace and harmony among nations, for the good of humanity.
The Council’s Structure:
The Council performs its roles through a General Assembly, Executive Committee and secretariat.
The General Assembly:
The General Assembly is the main and supreme authority in the Council of the Middle Eastern Churches. It meets regularly, every four years. There was an exception in 2020, when the General Assembly could not gather due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was postponed to 2022.
The General Assembly is composed of the leaders of the member Churches, and delegates appointed by their Churches. Together, they make up the four ecclesiastical families, in accordance with provisions of the internal system.
The General Assembly aspires to the following:
– evaluating the Council’s work between any two of its meetings.
– electing the four Council leaders, in the form of one leader from each ecclesiastical family and the election of the original and allied members of the Executive Committee, from amongst the delegates of the member ecclesiastical families and those nominated by their ecclesiastical families.
– electing the Secretary-General of the Council, in accordance with the internal procedure.
– determining the general directions of the Council, as well as its future agendas and structure.