On Friday, February 11, 2022, the Executive Committee of the Middle East Council of Churches held an online meeting in compliance with the ongoing preventive measures during the Corona pandemic. Members of the Committee from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Cyprus, and Lebanon attended the meeting.
The meeting was presided by the heads of the Church families of the Council: President of the Council for the Eastern Orthodox family His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, President of the Council for the Greek Orthodox family His Beatitude Patriarch John X, President of the Council for the Catholic family His Beatitude Patriarch Cardinal Mar Louis Raphael Sako, President of the Council for the Evangelical family Reverend Dr Habib Badr. Other participants were members of the Executive Committee, the General Secretariat team, and Secretary-General Dr Michel E. Abs invitees.
After completing the quorum, the first session began under the chairmanship of His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II with the opening prayer prepared by the Syriac Orthodox Church. Members of the committee then agreed on the agenda of the meeting, and the minutes of the meeting of the previous session, held remotely on August 3, 2021, were read and approved.
The work started with the presentation of the Secretary-General Dr Michel Abs for the agenda of the upcoming 12th General Assembly to be held in Egypt and hosted by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, from May 16 to 20, 2022. After discussing the details of the Assembly’s agenda, there were suggestions for some amendments, but the rest was submitted to the Preparatory Committee for the follow-up assembly.
In the second session chaired by Reverend Dr Habib Badr, a presentation explaining annual reports of the activities and achievements of the General Secretariat of the Council and the entire departments was shown. Then, the Head of the Finance Department presented the annual financial report for 2021.
In conclusion, members of the Committee commended the remarkable development of the Council's activities and the ecumenical dynamism that characterised its projects and work, in addition to the extraordinary transparency and clarity in the annual financial report.
Participants confirmed the following:
- Thanking His Holiness Pope Tawadros II for his invitation to host the next 12th General Assembly between May 16-20 and expressing their appreciation for the preparations that were being made for the success of this historic ecumenical meeting, held for the first time in Egypt.
- The only representative of Eastern Churches and their issues and challengesEast, the Council of Churches in the Middle meet in an ecumenical and united spirit, as a symbol of Christian unity and cooperation in partnership and communion to serve people preserve their dignity.
- Emphasizing solidarity with all those suffering from the various crises afflicting the Middle East, including the Corona pandemic and its repercussions, especially since Middle Eastern countries are suffering today from a fierce wave of virus, confirming the need to confront the pandemic by intensifying vaccination campaigns and providing a fair distribution of vaccines between different Countries. The committee also called for accelerating planning to contain the post-pandemic phase, especially putting an end to the aggravation of the problems of poverty and unemployment, increasing daily as a result of these difficult times.
Finally, participants called for unity in prayer on behalf of those suffering in the East, regardless of their beliefs or affiliations, amidst ongoing wars and destructive conflicts in the Middle East. This alone confirms the necessity of concerted efforts to build peace and end the suffering.