During our recent gathering in Addis Ababa, we were delighted to receive the following message of greeting from His Holiness Patriarch Matthias I, head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
In the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Sprit, One God, Amen!
“Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in Unity” (Psalm 133:1)
Esteemed fathers and beloved brothers!
It is with deep sense of gratitude to Almighty God that we welcome you to this ancient land of the Ancient Apostolic Church.
I would like to express the joy of our church in hosting this meeting with word of the Psalmist – “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity” Ps 133:1)
We hope that your meeting will contribute a lot to Christian unity as well as to finding ways and means to tackle common problems and preservation of world peace. This is not hard for the church because the church is the source of peace and fraternity.
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is one of the oldest church that accepted Christianity as early as the 1st Century A.D. by the baptism of an Ethiopian official who went to Jerusalem for worship in 34 A.D. (Act 8:26). Then since 4th Century A.D. Christianity became the state religion, and for the last 1600 years, the Ethiopian Church had been the repository of Ethiopian culture history social life etc. Today, we have an enormous number of literary work of high religious, historical and philosophical values. Some Christian works of the early churches are found only in Ethiopic version.
So, the history, literature, worship, faith and education have been subjects of discussion for world scholars, and its unique heritage most of which are registered as World Heritages are attracting visitors from all corners of the world.
Today, our church has over 50 million members, hundreds of thousands of clergy and thousands of parish churches with many branches in almost all parts of the world.
Our church fulfills international duties as well. It is one of the churches that laid the basis for founding the World Council of Churches (WCC), All African Conference of Churches (AACC) in 1948 and 1963.
This is not the first time for Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to host international meeting. It did host the first meeting of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in 1965 – during the time of Emperor Haile Selassie, who was the defender of the faith, and the meeting came up with important resolutions and decisions. In 1971 hosted the Central Committee meeting of World Council of Churches (WCC) and of the Executive committee in 1980. With this, the church has striven for strengthening of Ecumenism with the aim of restoring the ancient unity.
Today, our church is glad to host this meeting consisting of members and church leaders from different parts of the world and I hope you would come up with findings and resolutions.
You will learn a lot about our church from presentation that follow, but I would like to say few words about the role the church plays besides its Apostolic and Evangelical mission.
The church plays important role in development activities and in inter-church relations. It works with organizations and group of different faith especially in the field of development, peace and environmental issue in leadership position. It exclusively conducts tangible development, humanitarian activity, tackling environmental issue as well through the development wing of the church.
At last, I would like to express my hope and wishes that God will guide the discussion according to His will, assist you to come to common understanding in finding common solution for common problems.
May God enlighten this meeting!