Monthly Archives: February 2016

Praying for LOI

Prayer squarePrayer is key to the work of the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative. We would like to remind all those committed to this initiative that we value your prayers and provide regular prayer requests on our website.

Please do visit our prayer page regularly, use the short prayer requests there and also encourage your church and others to pray for us.

World Mission Conference announced for 2018 in Tanzania

The World Council of Church’s Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) have just announced that the next World Mission Conference will be hosted by the Lutheran community in Tanzania in 2018 (on a date yet to be agreed).  CWME






The CWME director, Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, speaking about the theme of the conference, reflected that, “We need to reintroduce the aspects of radical transformation in the values of God’s kingdom in today’s troubled world. To this end, CWME intends to focus on three thematic areas as we move toward the 2018 WMC: transformation and discipleship; Holy Spirit and empowerment; the missional movement and the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace”.

See the full WCC report here.

Ethiopian Orthodox Temqat (Epiphany) and an Evangelical Observer

IMG_1509Tekle Belachew, an Evangelical leader in Ethiopia and a participant in the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative offers his observations on last month’s Temqat festival within the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

“On January 19, 2016 (Terr 11, 2008 in Ethiopian calendar), Temqat (Timket) Epiphany celebrated in Ethiopia publicly by the riverbank or pond. “Temqat in Gondar” is particularly colorful both in the parishes, roads and in the palace pool of Fasiledes (built in the 17th century). Along the Ethiopian Orthodox Church the Catholics also celebrate Temqat. The white traditional clothing with colorful decorations, the flag, and different beautiful crosses made of different materials – gold, wood or bullet shell – contributes to the attractiveness of the celebration.

“Temqat is one of the major nine annual and ancient Christian feasts in Ethiopia. It is a public celebration like Mesqel – the finding of the true cross. The eve of Temqat (Gahad) which is the day of fasting, preparation and solemn procession of the clergy with tabots and the jubilation of the laity commemoration of the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (Matthew 3:14 and John 2:12).

“Temqat or astereeyo – is a glorious manifestation. The voice of the Father from heaven and through the clouds, the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of the dove attested to the reality of the Holy Trinity, the Divinity of Christ, His humility and the genesis of His heavenly ministry on earth.

Among all men the more handsome Jesus was revealed.” (Degwwa – the Degwwa (Degua) is one of the major poetic-liturgical treatises of St. Yared – ). Yared also said “… the water has been blessed by his baptism.” The Degwwa of Epiphany says, “Jesus went to Jordan from Galilee so that John would baptize him at that river. Heavenly God has been baptized by the earthly hands.” Both the sermons preached, the publications distributed and the hymns sung all pointed out the mystery of the baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the river Jordan is for the salvation and flourishing of humanity.

IMG_1625“On the morrow (the day after Temqat) there is another celebration, the commemoration of the miracle of Canna of Galilee where the Lord miraculously changed the water into wine. Besides the religious significance, Temqat has cultural manifestation with singing and dancing. In some places, the Temqat festival has been an opportunity for courtship where one proposes by giving out lemon.

“For a comprehensive documentary on Temqat celebration in Gondar, see CNN / Inside Africa Report … the reporter said Temqat is “a colorful celebration, a religious festival, like no other.”

(Quotations are from the publication prepared and freely distributed by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church on the day of Temqat/Epiphany.  We Believe in One Baptism. Tinsae Zegoubae Printing Press: Addis Ababa, January 2016.)

Refugees’ church bulldozed in France

a-pastor-and-cross-are-all-that-remain-of-st-michaels-in-the-calais-jungleSt Michael’s, a small makeshift chapel serving mainly Orthodox Ethiopian Christians among the migrants living in “The Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, was among several parts of the camp that were bulldozed by the authorities this week. A mosque was also destroyed. The charity Help Refugees, UK, said, “Sad to report that the Church has now been demolished despite the Prefecture promises to not touch places of worship. There was just time for a last minute prayer before the machinery tore in. One of the church members stood by in dignified silence, clutching the remaining cross from the Church roof.”

calais-migrants-churchSt. Michael’s church had previously featured on the BBC TV programme Songs of Praise and served Christians of several different traditions, Orthodox, evangelical and others. The mosque had around 300 worshippers daily. Believers are now trying to reconstruct their places of worship on a new site in “The Jungle”.

Orthodox Patriarchs agree on Holy and Great Council

The following communique has been issued by the  by the Synaxis of Primates of the Orthodox Churches meeting in Geneva from 21-28 January 2016


24642123116_498922d1c7At the invitation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Synaxis of Primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches took place at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Geneva, from 21st to 28th January, 2016. The following Primates attended:

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria
Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow
Patriarch Irinej of Serbia
Patriarch Daniel of Romania
Patriarch Neophyte of Bulgaria
Patriarch Ilia of Georgia
Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus
Archbishop Anastasios of Albania
Archbishop Rastislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia

The following Primates were unable to attend: Their Beatitudes Patriarch John X of Antioch and Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland, for health reasons, and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, for personal reasons. Nevertheless, all three were represented by official delegations of their Churches.

The Primates of the Orthodox Churches convened to finalize the texts for the Holy and Great Council. In the framework of the Synaxis, on Sunday, 24th January, a Divine Liturgy was held at the Holy Stavropegic Church of St. Paul. Along with the Ecumenical Patriarch, who presided, Their Beatitudes and Heads of the delegations of the Orthodox Churches concelebrated the Liturgy, with the exception of the Head of the delegation of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

During the Synaxis, whose sessions were held in the apostolic spirit of “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4.15), in concord and understanding, the Primates affirmed their decision to convene the Holy and Great Council. The Council will be held at the Orthodox Academy of Crete from June 16th to 27th, 2016. To this end, the Primates humbly invoke the grace and blessing of the Holy Trinity and fervently invite the prayers of the fullness of the Church, clergy and laity, for the period leading to and the sessions of the Holy and Great Council.

The items officially approved for referral to and adoption by the Holy and Great Council are: The Mission of the Orthodox Church in the Contemporary World, The Orthodox Diaspora, Autonomy and its Manner of Proclamation, The Sacrament of Marriage and its Impediments, The Significance of Fasting and its Application Today, and Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World. By decision of the Primates, all approved documents will be published.

The Primates also discussed and determined the establishment of a Panorthodox Secretariat, the by-laws of the Council, the participation of non-Orthodox observers in the opening and closing sessions, and the budgetary costs related the Council.

Moreover, the Primates expressed their support for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East and their ongoing concern for the abduction of the two Metropolitans, Paul Yazigi of the Patriarchate of Antioch and Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Archdiocese.

The proceedings of the Synaxis of the concluded on Wednesday evening, January 27th, 2016, with the closing address by its President, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

At the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy-Geneva, 27th January, 2016
From the Secretariat of the Sacred Synaxis