More background on recent dialogue
Vatican, Oriental Orthodox Churches Set Up Dialogue Committee
VATICAN, Jan 31, 03 (CWNews.com) -- After three days of preliminary talks,
Vatican officials and representatives of the Oriental Orthodox churches have
agreed to set up a formal committee for ecumenical dialogue.
The meetings held in Rome this week, under the sponsorship of the Pontifical
Council for Christian Unity, brought together representatives of the
churches that broke with Rome after the Council of Chalcedon in 451-- long
before the "Great Schism" that led to the establishment of the larger
Orthodox churches. The Oriental Orthodox groups include the Syrian Orthodox,
Armenian Apostolic, Syro-Malankar, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Orthodox
These Eastern churches are not formally tied with one another, but generally
regard themselves as forming a single ecclesial family. Although the
Oriental Orthodox broke with the Holy See because of differences on
Christological issues, their theological disagreements with Rome have
subsequently been resolved, and prospects for ecumenical progress are
generally regarded as promising.
The three-day meeting in Rome was co-chaired by Cardinal Walter Kasper
(bio - news), the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity,
and Metropolitan Amba Bishoy of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The joint
committee for ecumenical dialogue, set up during this week's meetings, will
hold its first sessions in January 2004.