To defend the faith and to preserve our ancient ties with your respective countries, our fathers the Emperors of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people have exerted great efforts all through our history. We are grateful to all of them. It is therefore with great joy that We welcome Your Holinesses to Our land and to Our Church. Your Holinesses bring with you sacred memories from the ancient past. Your presence here is a pledge and token of the desire of all Christians to be one.
Ever since We ascended the historic throne of Ethiopia, We have considered it Our duty to call for a meeting of the churches who belong to the same fold. We were praying to God for His help in achieving this holy purpose, so that He may grant it to us to see this event. In ancient times the Byzantine emperors used to summon the councils. Our sincere wish from the very beginning was to see these churches meeting to discuss their common interests and decide on their common problems. This wish is in actual fact fulfilled today, and We are happy to witness it. Therefore, We thank Almighty God first because He has enabled Us to properly fulfil Our clear duty, and secondly, because Our long cherished desire has now met with fulfilment. Henceforth the matter will demand the spiritual unity and hard work of Your Holinesses. For strength can be achieved through unity, and success is the fruit of co-operation. There is no doubt that work done through a co-operative spirit shall meet with success. Christ affirmed:
- “. . .That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my father which is in heaven.” (Math. 18: 19)
We consider it a great blessing to Us and to Our people that Your Holinesses have come to bless our land with your sacred presence. Our people and Cur Church rejoice to welcome Your Holinesses in our midst. Holy Fathers, as the spiritual descendants of the Apostles of Christ you have an eminent responsibility, which responsibility would include the improvement of the relations of laity with clergy and of church with society. We hope and trust that God will guide the discussions here according to His will and that His power will assist Your Holinesses in finding common solutions to common problems in the spirit of amity and concord. May God who helped the 318 Fathers of the council of Nicea enlighten and help us all. January 15, 1965