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Joint Declaration of the Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches (November 14, 2011)

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

H.H. Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, H.H. Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka I, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, H.H. Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Orthodox Church and H.H. Abuna Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, give thanks to God for bringing us together here in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday, 14 November 2011, to pray together and to reflect together on matters and concerns pertaining to our Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Family in general. We were accompanied by metropolitans, archbishops and bishops of our Churches.

In fact, the Churches of the Oriental Orthodox Family are united in faith, theology, doctrine, tradition and spirituality. This strong bond of unity has sustained this Family and became a source of spiritual strength, missionary outreach and social action in spite of tremendous challenges and crisis which surrounded these Churches in the course of their long history. The unity of faith of our Family is grounded on Apostolic Tradition and the teachings of the first three Ecumenical Councils of Nicea (325), Constantinople (381) and Ephesus (431). We developed our theological teachings and shaped our doctrinal positions on the basis of the teachings of these Ecumenical Councils, and adopted a common position in respect to heresies and heretics.

It is vitally important that we re-affirm and re-strengthen our unity, and re-invigorate our Christian witness. In a world which is constantly threatened by secularistic and materialistic ideologies and different sort of heresies which may jeopardize the integrity, identity and unity of our faith, therefore, re-organizing and re-revitalizing our intra-family collaboration is of decisive importance. The Oriental Orthodox Family has a long and rich history. Its relevance needs to be re-affirmed and its common witness to be re-activated in those regions and countries where the faithful of our Churches have organized their church and community life.

For H.H. Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka I, H.H. Catholicos Aram I and H.H. Abuna Paulos, participating in the 40th anniversary celebration of the enthronement of H.H. Pope Shenouda III was indeed a source of spiritual joy and a unique opportunity to express our brotherly love and unity. The pontificate of His Holiness has been one of dedicated service to the sister Coptic Orthodox Church; a committed service marked by so many achievements in different spheres of the life and mission of the Church. We pray the Almighty God to strengthen H.H. Pope Shenouda III to carry on his pontifical ministry with renewed commitment and vision.

We appeal to our faithful to remain firm in their Christian faith and participate fully in the witness of our Churches. May God lead our Churches in faithfulness to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Glory be to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

14 November 2011
Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate
Cairo, Egypt


Pope Shenouda III
Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I
Catholicos Aram I
Patriarch Paulos

Posted by Fr. Moses Samaan

November 18, 2011


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