In 1965, His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie I, Defender of the Orthodox Faith, summoned all of the Orthodox Churches together in Addis Ababa, overlooking the disagreements between the Coptic and Ethiopian Churches, the Armenian Houses of Etchmiadzin and Cilicia, and assembled all the Orthodox together in one convocation, in a spirit of love and brotherhood, where they agreed, among other things, to cooperate in the field of mission.
Can we not follow the example of His Majesty, Abune Theophilus, the saint Baba Kyrillos, and the other holy fathers of this council? Is anyone interested in forming some sort of Oriental Orthodox mission society?http://www.ethiopianorthodox.org/gallery/todaysphoto/1965addisababaconference/index.htmhttp://orientalorthodox.blogspot.com/2008/12/oriental-orthodox-churches-addis-ababa.htmlhttp://orientalorthodox.blogspot.com/2008/12/oriental-orthodox-churches-addis-ababa_15.htmlhttp://orientalorthodox.blogspot.com/2008/12/oriental-orthodox-churches-addis-ababa_4372.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conference_of_Addis_Ababa
The Words of Our Fathers:
COOPERATION IN EVANGELISM
(1) Evangelistic work is another area in which, we feel our churches should
co-operate. Evangelism is part of our common heritage, and we recall the great
accomplishments of our churches in the past in this field. At the same time we
live in an age which calls for a fresh evaluation of the methods of evangelism.
So we should examine the experiences of the various missionary organizations in
our churches and see what can be done to co-ordinate our evangelistic efforts.
(c) THE BASIS OF EVANGELISM
(2) The basis of evangelism is to be found in the very nature and purpose of
Christ's Incarnation as manifested in His life and teaching. It must not be the
human desire to increase the number of members in one's own community. Also, it
is not a merely formal obedience to Christ's command: "God into all the world
and preach the Gospel". In His high-Priestly Prayer, our Lord said to the
Father: " As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the
world" (St. John 17: 18). Our Lord sent His disciples into the world even as His
Father sent Him into the world, namely to identify Himself with humanity in all
its misery, to bear its sin, to die on the Cross on its behalf. The Apostolate
of the Church consists in representing the Master who" came not to be served but
to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many". Therefore, the Church's
role is to convey the message of salvation to the world and to be the good
Samaritan binding up the wounds of a broken world, trying to make God's love
real to those to whom it is not otherwise real. This is not just one of the many
activities of the Church, but should be its central concern its main
(3) We need well-trained and devoted preachers and workers in the field of the
evangelistic witness of our churches. However, increased evangelistic effort is
not only a matter of training larger number of eloquent preachers and sending
them out into all the world with the necessary equipment. It is also a matter of
the whole membership of the Church being moved by the redemptive love of God and
being concerned to bring succour to those who are in spiritual and material need
everywhere. The question, therefore, is what our churches can do to foster among
our members this evangelistic spirit of burden-bearing, for the love of God and
along with that, to organize the proclamation of the good news of God's love to
a world in need.
(c) WORSHIP AND EVANGELISM
(4) The life of the worshipping community is an essential witness of the Church
to her risen Lord. Loving identification with, and redeeming lover for, mankind
for whom our Lord died is expressed in worship through evangelistic
intercession. Such intercession, Prayer for the world and for the Christian work
which expresses the care of the Church, will also help to make the members of
our churches more conscious of their Apostolic or missionary calling. We have to
give this kind of evangelistic intercession an integral place in our liturgical
worship and our family prayers. This needs enlarging the intercessory parts f
our worship and introducing a programme for educating our congregations in this
(d) EVANGELISM AND STRENGTHENING OF SPIRITUAL LIFE
(5) Evangelism should make our churches better instruments of the Holy Spirit in
all aspects of their life. This is the real source of renewal of our churches.
Evangelism involves an earnest attempt to make the compassion of Christ a
reality to those in need. This calls for not only sympathy expressed through
almsgiving, but also for sacrificial giving of whatever God has blessed us with.
Our people should be taught the principle and practical ways of self-giving
through personal commitment. There are de-christianized areas in the lives of
our people which need to be evangelized. Here there is need to make the fullest
use of all the means of grace.
(e) EVANGELISM AMONG THOSE OUTSIDE
(6) We have to give united thought to specific areas where evangelistic work is
urgently needed. Areas where men and women are in special need of the Gospel
message of a new life ought to engage our immediate attention. The message of
the Gospel has to be presented also to those who are attracted by atheism,
materialism, and other philosophies and ideologies, so that the truth of Christ
may be clearly and honestly faced by them.
(7) In this connection it should be specially remembered that witnessing for
Christ is not passing on our national cultures to men and women of other
nations. Those who come to Christ are to be helped to continue as witnesses to
Christ among their own people. This might involve the development of new modes
of worship in accordance with their own environment, so that indigenous churches
may be formed.
METHODS OF EVANGELISM
( 8 ) There is need to study various methods of evangelism which have been, and
are being, used to make Christ real to those in need. We must avoid such methods
as are not compatible with the Christian sprit of charity and the moral ideals
of evangelism. Our churches should use also modern media of communication and
education like popular literature, the cinema, and the radio wherever possible,
to proclaim the Gospel.
TRAINING IN EVANGELISTIC WORK
(9) while all Christians are to be evangelists wherever they are, there is
particular need for many who are engaged in full time evangelistic work. Such
people need special training. Our churches, wherever possible, ought to have
missionary training centers to give such training to full time evangelists and
others. It would be of very great help if we would build up one Missionary
Institute for all our churches together.