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Ethiopia: Congratulations to H.H. Patriarch Abuna Paulos on the award of the Nansen Medal

15 November 2000

Letter sent to the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, 15 November 2000.

Your Holiness,

It was a pleasure to meet you, however briefly, when we were together in New York for the Millennium Summit of World Religious Leaders. I was encouraged to have through Norwegian Church Aid a report of the important meeting you had in that city between the Religious Committees of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and to see the further agreements for future actions you adopted there.

Now I have had the welcome news that you have been named as a co-recipient of the prestigious Nansen Medal for service to refugees this year. I want to congratulate you warmly for this merited recognition of your work, which includes the leadership you have given to the joint efforts of the Religious Committees. The granting of the Nansen Medal for 2000 to persons who themselves have suffered the rigors of exile and thus the fate of refugees is a significant step. We know well how you yourself were impacted in those difficult years of your own imprisonment and exile during which we accompanied you, and we can attest to the ways in which you have applied that personal experience in your years as spiritual leader of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

A mark of your commitment both to the plight of refugees and to the causes of uprootedness in your part of the world has been your effort to build bridges between the religious communities, the peoples and the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea at a time when they provided virtually the only contact across a growing divide. I am sure that this high distinction now given to you bodes well not only for your own ministry, but for the realization of the important goals the committees have set for themselves to build a lasting peace and harmonious relations between your two peoples.

Yours in Christ,

Konrad Raiser
General Secretary