Middle East Council of Churches

Unofficial news from the Middle Eastern Christian Ecumenical organization.

Maintained by Tom Scudder

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Saturday, December 06, 2003

Per The Detroit Free Press's corrections page, the new Chaldean Patriarch did NOT take the name Karim III, but is properly named Emmanuel III Delli.
posted by Tom at 3:57 PM

Friday, December 05, 2003
Girgis Saleh, a Coptic Orthodox theologian, has been elected General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches. He succeeds Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour, the council's General Secretary for the past eight years and now honorary General Secretary.

At the same time, two of the MECC's presidents stay on, Pope Sheoundah of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Patriarch Petros of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, and two new presidents have been elected, Rev. Dr. Safwat el-Bayadi of the Synod of the Nile and Bishop Yohanna Qolta of the Coptic Catholic Church. This is the first time that all four presidents of the Council have been from the same country. Egypt has the largest Christian population in the Middle East.

The acceptance speech of Professor Saleh and the farewell speech of Dr. Jarjour will be posted as soon as full translations are available.

In other decisions, the Extraordinary Session announced below will be held "within two years" rather than "within one year" as originally proposed.
posted by Tom at 8:22 PM

Thursday, December 04, 2003
Eighth General Assembly:

Assembly Calls For Extraordinary Session to Amend Constitution

In order to enact significant reforms to its existing structures, the Eight General Assembly of the Middle East Council of Churches has called for a second extraordinary session to be held a year from now. The call came when some delegates found a series of amendments proposed by a committee charged with reforming the document to be superficial and insufficient to the task.


[During a discussion of the proposed amendments,] HB Patriarch Michel Sabbah suggested that the amendments proposed to the Constitution are, at best, superficial and that further amendments on basic issues needed to be made and presented to the Executive Committee. This led to a great deal of discussion of the process of election of the General Secretary. Rev. Dr. Safwat el-Bayadi suggested that the nominating committee report the candidates for major posts earlier than in the present system, wherein the nominations are announced only a few hours before the election itself. The matter was referred to the executive committee for future amendment. Patriarch Sabbah talked about a discussion held by the Catholic family with Pope Shenoudah concerning possible future procedures for electing the General Secretary. The proposal was that the existing unwritten practice of rotating the General Secretariat between the families would be formalized – the General Secretary would represent one family every four years, and the family whose turn it was would put forward one or two candidates ahead of time. The candidate or candidates would then be interviewed over a longer period to decide on that candidate’s suitability for the post.

Ultimately, it was decided to convene an extraordinary General Assembly specifically to reform the Constitution. The Executive Committee was asked to prepare for and convene the Assembly in a year's time. Bishop Munib Younan asked whether such an assembly would be more expensive than could be supported by the normal MECC budget. Rev. Dr. Jarjour noted that various cost-cutting measures could make it possible.


The Assembly then returned to the question of the extraordinary General Assembly. Metropolitan George Saliba requested that the member churches and families respond well ahead of the Assembly with their suggestions for the amended Constitution and Bylaws, and Bishop Boulos Matar suggested that these suggestions be forwarded in full, rather than in summary, to the member churches.

There are other reports and things in the full article, but this is the full text referring to the extraordinary Assembly.

posted by Tom at 3:14 PM

Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Delli Elected New Chaldean Patriarch
According to an AP story, Bishop Emmanuel Delli of Baghdad was elected as the new Chaldean Patriarch. Delli, who has served on the MECC Executive Committee for the past four years, was elected by the Chaldean Synod meeting in Rome, and took the name Karim III. He succeeds Rafael I Bidawid, who died in July. here is the AP article as it appears in the Boston Globe.
posted by Tom at 11:27 PM

General Assembly day 2:

Here it is - today was unit reports day, so there's not a whole lot of stirring rhetoric this time 'round.
posted by Tom at 11:16 PM

General Assembly:

The MECC's Eighth General Assembly opened yesterday, December 2. The two reports from the opening day's sessions can be found here (morning session - MECC Presidents' speech, speeches from the Cyprus President and Muslim representative Muhammad Sammak) and here (message from Cardinal Walter Kasper and report of the General Secretary.

The Middle East Council of Churches, the ecumenical body that represents 95% of the 15 million or so Christians living in the Middle East, is holding its eighth General Assembly in the Saint Rafael Hotel, Limassol, Cyprus. The Assembly, which runs from the 2nd to the 5th of December, brings together church leaders from around the region in order to give the Council its direction for the next four years of its activities. The assembled delegates, sixteen from each church family (Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant), will elect the council’s Executive Committee and Presidents to oversee the Council during the period between Assemblies, and will choose a new General Secretary to replace Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour, who has completed his second and final term.

posted by Tom at 3:36 PM