The Synod of the British Orthodox Church has submitted a recommendation to the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, that in the reception of those who have previously been members of churches accepting the Council of Chalcedon (including the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches) it should be by confession of faith and prayer, without any requirement for the reception of Baptism or Chrismation.
This recommendation is made on the basis that:
(1) The Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate has always received Chalcedonians by confession of faith and prayer on the clear and authoritative instruction of our holy Fathers including St Timothy, the 26th Pope of Alexandria, St Philoxenus of Mabbugh and St Severus. Even during periods of violent persecution our Orthodox Church has not deviated from this procedure.
(2) This has been consistently used as the only method of receiving Chalcedonians from the 5th century to the 19th century. Our own Coptic Orthodox Tradition shows that even Nestorians were received in such a manner.
(3) It is only in the most recent times that Catholics have been required to be baptised on their reception which is an innovation and contrary to the teaching of our holy Fathers.
(4) The development of various doctrines in the Catholic Church in later centuries is no justification for requiring the baptism of Catholics, since even Nestorians were not required to be baptised.
(5) His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of blessed memory signed an agreement with Pope Paul VI of Rome which spoke of the sacrament of baptism being present in both communities, and Bishop Gregorious, the Coptic president of the Theological Commission with the Catholics also insisted that there be mutual respect and regard for the baptism of Catholics.
(6) The Armenian, Syrian and Indian Orthodox all continue our ancient and authoritative Tradition of receiving Catholics without baptism.
INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION FOR THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE ORIENTAL ORTHODOX CHURCHES REPORT
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 17 to 21, 2012
The ninth meeting of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from January 17 to 21, 2012. The meeting was hosted by His Holiness Abuna Paulos I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. It was chaired jointly by His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and by His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Joining delegates from the Catholic Church were representatives of the following Oriental Orthodox Churches: the Antiochian Syrian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church (Catholicosate of All Armenians), the Armenian Apostolic Church (Holy See of Cilicia), the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. No representative of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church was able to attend.
The two delegations met separately on the morning of January 17. In the afternoon, the Catholic members attended a prayer service with the local Catholic hierarchy, clergy, religious and faithful, at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady. They were greeted with an address by Abune Berhaneyesus D. Souraphiel, CM, Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia. Cardinal Koch was also invited to speak to the assembly. That same evening, all the members of the commission accepted a gracious invitation from His Excellency Archbishop George Panikulam, Apostolic Nuncio in Ethiopia, to attend a friendship dinner at the Apostolic Nunciature in honor of His Holiness Patriarch Paulos, who also attended the meal.