Ethiopia: Delegation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Visits Moscow

by Zelalem

The delegation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church went to Moscow with a 4-day working visit at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia lately.

As to the press release, the visit was preceded by the message from His Holiness Patriarch Abba Mathias to Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church expressing interest in reestablishing active cooperation that existed between two sisterly Churches earlier.

The Ethiopian delegation comprised of His Grace Abba Philipos, Bishop of South Omo Diocese and Nubre Ed Elias Abrha, Head of Printing Department of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC). They held talks with Hieromonk Stefan, Secretary for inter-Christian Affairs of Moscow Patriarchate. The counterparts discussed a broad bilateral agenda including protecting Christians persecuted in various world regions, advocacy for basic traditional morals in the modern society, youth service and development of academic contacts.

As part of their trip, the guests visited the Sofrino Art Production, where they were taken on a tour of the factory to see the wide range of the Sofrino output. They discussed plans for establishing cooperation on production of church ware between Sofrino and appropriate structures of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Ethiopian guests visited Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate Studies to discuss the prospects of reestablishing students exchange with Russian Orthodox Church. The delegation also visited the St. Sergius Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Moscow Theological Academy as well as the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour.

The history of relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church goes back to the 18th century, when the first contacts were established between the Russian and Ethiopian (Abyssinian) Empires. The most intensive inter-church contacts happened in the period from 1950s to 1980s when there was an intensive exchange of official delegations and Ethiopian students were sent to the Moscow Patriarchate educational institutions.

Today these relations are being resumed. In September 2011, a meeting took place in Addis Ababa between Metropolitan Hilarion and then-Patriarch Mathias Abba Paulos.

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