Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
On Sunday evening, July 1st, 2018, the Executive Committee of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) started its meeting at the Armenian Church, Catholicosate of Cilicia, in Antelias, under the auspices of His Holiness Aram I. Alongside the ExCom members of the CCA, present at the meeting was the Acting General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches Dr. Souraya Bechealany.
The four-day meeting will mainly decide on the theme and the venue of the next CCA assembly, as well as evaluate the previous programs and activities and design new ones.
During the opening session, the CCA moderator Rev. Diana Tana welcomed the ExCom and invited the General Secretary Dr. Mathew George Chunakara to deliver the welcoming remarks. The General Secretary recalling the unique ecumenical contribution that His Holiness has made to the ecumenical movement in general and the WCC in particular as moderator (1991-2015) of this global fellowship, mentioned a few events which clearly articulate Aram I’s firm commitment, strong leadership and profound theological insides that he has manifested throughout his leadership. He also mentioned the visit of his holiness to the major capitals of Asia and his meeting and lectures as the leader of the WCC.
Delivering his speech, His Holiness defined ecumenism as a movement that transcends all boundaries, while being a local and a global reality. Speaking from his own ecumenical experience, which has started with his priesthood ordination in 1968, His Holiness stated that ecumenism should not remain an area of commitment outside of the Christian ministry and witness. He added that it is not a mere academic reflection or an opportunity to organize ecumenical meetings, but a response to the message of Jesus Christ and translation of that message to local realities.
His Holiness mentioned some points regarding specificities of ecumenism, which involved opening to and entering into a dialogue with the other and keeping an open mind in these dialogue in order to establish a critical approach, where learning from one another is possible. His Holiness identified some contemporary challenges that ecumenism faces today and gave his reflection on each.
Concluding his speech, Aram I stated that ecumenism cannot survive without a vision, which is the visible unity of the church. “We may have different perceptions of models of unity, nevertheless; churches should express their commitment to the visible unity of the church,” stated His Holiness.
Note that the three prelacies of the Armenian Church, Catholicosate of Cilicia in Iran are members of CCA, and H.E. Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, prelate of Tehran, is a member of Ex. Committee.