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Reconciliation among Oriental Orthodox Churches

WCC general secretary rejoices with the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church over their reconciliation, leaving behind more than two decades of tensions.

19 July 2007

Your Holinesses,

"Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133.1)

Today, the entire fellowship of the Word Council of Churches (WCC) rejoices! Two of its founding members, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, have solemnly declared their unity of faith, their commitment to common witness and their readiness to deepen and expand collaboration, leaving behind more than two decades of tensions.

We rejoice with the heartening developments in the lives of these historic Oriental Orthodox Churches, deeply rooted since the beginning of Christian history among the people of Africa. Their theological, spiritual and liturgical heritage, as well as their centuries-long witness to the Gospel, constitute a valuable source of inspiration for many other member churches of the WCC fellowship.

We rejoice with this promising news that extends far beyond bilateral relations by confirming that true reconciliation among churches is possible. We are grateful to each of you, the heads of churches, for the tangible witness you have offered in dealing successfully with church-dividing matters.

We recognize that all the protagonists in this process of healing and reconciliation are well known to the WCC fellowship of member churches as outstanding ecumenical leaders. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III served as one of the presidents of the WCC from 1991-1998. His Holiness Abune Paulos currently serves as one of the presidents of the WCC, having been elected in 2006. His Holiness Catholicos Aram I served as the moderator of the WCC Central Committee for two terms from 1991 - 2006. We congratulate you and offer our thanks to God for this historic achievement.

A particular word of gratitude on behalf of the WCC fellowship of member churches is extended to His Holiness Catholicos Aram I for his tireless efforts to promote unity and reconciliation in the life of the Churches and his particular commitment to this process of mediation.

By God's own Grace, the family of Oriental Orthodox Churches has been strengthened. May God continue to bless Your efforts!

Yours in our common Lord Jesus Christ,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia

General Secretary