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The Official Theological Dialogue between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church

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  • Fr. John-Brian
    http://www.suryoyo-online.org/news/orientcath2004.htm The Official Theological Dialogue between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church January
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2004
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      http://www.suryoyo-online.org/news/orientcath2004.htm

      The Official Theological Dialogue between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and
      the Catholic Church

      January 27-30, 2004, in Nasr City (Cairo, Egypt), at the Coptic Orthodox
      Saint Mark Centre, the representatives of the Catholic Church and Oriental
      Orthodox Churches convened the first meeting of their official theological
      dialogue.

      Archbishop Mesrob Krikorian (Primate of Vienna) and Father Gabriel Sargsyan
      (Student in Egypt) represented the Catholicosate of All Armenians and
      Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan (Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy in the U.S.A.)
      and Bishop Nareg Alemezian (Ecumenical Officer) represented the
      Catholicosate of Cilicia.

      Cardinal Walter Kasper and Metropolitan Bishoy were the co-chairmen and
      Msgr. Johan Bonny and Bishop Nareg Alemezian were the co-secretaries of the
      meeting.

      Twenty eight clergy and lay theologians of the Armenian, Coptic, Syrian,
      Indian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches -the representatives of the Ethiopian
      Orthodox Church were absent- and the Catholic Church evaluated the work of
      the official and unofficial bi-lateral dialogues between the Catholic Church
      and the Family of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the common declarations
      signed by the Heads of their respective Churches.

      On Wednesday, January 28, H.H. Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and
      Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, received the Commission members and
      wished them fruitful deliberations.

      The second meeting of the Commission will be hosted by the Catholic Church,
      January 24-30, 2005, in Rome, and the topic of the discussion will be
      ‘Church as Communion’.


      Report of the first meeting of the International Joint Commission for
      Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox
      Churches - Cairo, Egypt, 27-30 January 2004

      Catholic and Oriental Orthodox representatives, delegated by their Churches,
      met 27-30 January 2004, as members of the International Joint Commission for
      Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox
      Churches, under the co-chairmanship of His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper,
      President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and His
      Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, General Secretary of the Holy
      Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

      The meeting was held in Nasr City (Cairo, Egypt) at the Saint Mark Centre,
      hosted by H.H. Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of
      Saint Mark. Letters of invitation to this meeting, signed by both
      co-chairmen, were sent to the Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches: the
      Coptic Orthodox Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic Church
      (Catholicosate of all Armenians), Armenian Apostolic Church (Catholicosate
      of Cilicia), Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and
      Eritrean Orthodox Church. The same invitation was sent to the Catholic
      members through the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

      In their opening address the co-chairmen underscore the importance of the
      meeting marking the beginning of a new official theological dialogue between
      the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches as a family.

      In the name of H.H. Pope Shenouda III, Metropolitan Bishoy welcomed the
      participants, who on Wednesday evening 28 January had the opportunity to
      take part at the weekly sermon of Pope Shenouda III at Saint Mark's
      Cathedral in Cairo. His Holiness greeted all delegation members and
      recommended the new dialogue to the prayers of the faithful. In response,
      H.E. Cardinal Walter Kasper conveyed the brotherly greetings and presented a
      gift of H.H. Pope John Paul II. The Cardinal confirmed that Catholic and
      Oriental Orthodox faithful are united in the same faith in the Triune God
      and in the Saviour Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, that they
      venerate in common the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and that they
      share as common Fathers and Teachers of the Church Saint Athanasius and
      Saint Cyril of Alexandria. On Thursday afternoon 29 January, H.H. Pope
      Shenouda III came to Saint Mark Centre to greet and bless the Joint
      Commission, wishing full success for the dialogue and presented personal
      gifts to all participants.

      The first part of the meeting was dedicated to a consideration of the many
      studies and activities which have taken place over the past thirty years. In
      this context were presented and discussed the following issues: (1)
      Unofficial Consultations held between the Catholic Church and the Oriental
      Orthodox Churches (paper by Prof. Dr. Dietmar Winkler and presentation by
      H.E. Archbishop Dr. Mesrob Krikorian), (2) The official dialogue between the
      Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church (papers by H.E. Metropolitan
      Bishoy and Rev. Father Frans Bouwen); (3) The official dialogue between the
      Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (paper on the
      official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox
      Syrian Church and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church by Rev. Father Mathew
      Vellanickal; paper of Rev. Father John Mathews, read in his absence by H.E.
      Archbishop Dr. Mesrob Krikorian); (4) The official declarations made by the
      Catholic Church and any Oriental Orthodox Church (paper by Rev. Father Johan
      Bonny; presentations by H.E. Archbishop George Saliba, H.E. Archbishop Dr.
      Mesrob Krikorian, H.G. Bishop Nareg Alemezian). Rev. Father John Long
      distributed the booklet sponsored jointly by the National Conference of
      Catholic Bishops and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches
      in the USA concerning various aspects of their dialogue. These papers and
      presentations showed that considerable work has been done, which may be
      helpful for the future dialogue of the commission.

      In the second part of the meeting, the Workplan and Agenda for the Dialogue
      as established in the Preparatory Committee Report were considered. It was
      decided that the next meeting will deal with the first part of ecclesiology
      "Church as communion" (items 1-6 and 8). Item 7 of the first part of
      ecclesiology (Oriental Churches in communion with Rome, their ecclesial and
      canonical implications) will be studied in a later stage. From each side,
      one paper will be prepared on the following topics: (a) Understanding of
      communion, Constitutive elements of communion; (b) Particular and universal
      communion; Meaning of sister churches and of church families; (c) Full
      communion and degrees of communion, Common ecumenical goal.


      Second Meeting of the Commission

      1. Preparations for the second meeting will be undertaken under the
      leadership of the co-chairs;

      2. This meeting will take place from 25 January (arrival) to 30 January
      (departure) 2005, with the option of spending the weekend at the venue; the
      members of the Oriental Orthodox delegation will arrive on 24 January;

      3. H.E. Cardinal Walter Kasper extended an invitation to have the
      second meeting of the Commission in Rome;

      4. Papers will be sent to the Pontifical Council for Promoting
      Christian Unity in the Vatican, by November 1st, 2004, for communication to
      the members of the Commission;

      5. The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity will offer
      co-ordinating facilities for the work of the Commission.


      The sessions of the first meeting were held in the context of daily morning
      and evening prayer, and in a very cordial atmosphere. Separate meetings of
      the members of the two delegations enabled the co-ordinated contribution to
      the dialogue and sharing other concerns.

      The members expressed their gratitude to the Coptic Orthodox Church and to
      the Director and staff-members of the Saint Mark Centre for providing
      accommodation and hospitality.

      The members of the Commission were:

      Representatives of the Oriental Orthodox Churches

      Coptic Orthodox Church: H.E. Amba Bishoy (co-chair), Metropolitan of
      Damiette, General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church;
      H.G. Bishop Suriel, Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne
      (substitute of Mr. Yoftahe Dimetros, representative of the Eritrean Orthodox
      Church), Rev. Fr. Dr. Shenouda Maher Ishak;

      Syrian Orthodox Church: H.E. Mor Theophilus George Saliba, Archbishop of
      Mount Lebanon, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church;
      H.E. Thomas Themotheos, Metropolitan of Kottayam (India);

      Armenian Apostolic Church (Catholicosate of all Armenians): H.E. Dr. Mesrob
      K. Krikorian, Archbishop of Vienna; Rev. Fr. Gabriel Sargsyan (substitute);
      Rev. Fr. Dajad Tsaturyan (observer);

      Armenian Apostolic Church (Catholicosate of Cilicia): H.E. Archbishop
      Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy in the U.S.A.; H.G. Bishop
      Nareg Alemezian, Ecumenical Officer of the Catholicosate of Cilicia;

      Eritrean Orthodox Church: Rev. Fr. Kaleab Gebreselassie, Co-ordinator for
      Foreign Affairs; Mr. Yoftahe Dimetrios, General Director of the Eritrean
      Orthodox Church (prevented);

      Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church: H.E. Philipos Mar Eusebios, Metropolitan
      of Pathanamthitta (prevented), Rev. Dr. John Mathews (co-secretary),
      Secretary Committee on Inter-Church Relations (prevented).


      Representatives of the Catholic Church
      H.E. Cardinal Walter Kasper (co-chair), President of the Pontifical Council
      for Promoting Christian Unity;

      H.E. Mons. Paul-Werner Scheele, Bishop-em. of Würzburg (Germany);

      H.E. Amba Kyrillos William, Coptic Catholic Bishop of Assiut, President of
      the Ecumenical Commission of the Catholic Church in Egypt;

      H.E. Mons. Jules Mikhael Al-Jamil, Procurator of the Syrian Catholic
      Patriarchate to the Holy See and Apostolic Visitator in Europe (prevented);

      H.E. Mons. Boutros Marayati, Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo,
      President of the Ecumenical Commission of the Catholic Church in Syria;

      H.E. Mons. Woldetensae Ghebreghiorghis, Apostolic Vicar of Harar (Ethiopia),
      President of the Ecumenical Commission of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia
      and Eritrea; Rev. Fr. Mathew Vellanickal; Vicar General of the Archdiocese
      of Changanacherry (India);

      Rev. Fr John Long SJ, Consultant to the Pontifical Council for Promoting
      Christian Unity; New York;

      Rev. Fr. Frans Bouwen M.Afr.; Consultant to the Pontifical Council for
      Promoting Christian Unity; Jerusalem;

      Rev. Fr. Philippe Luisier SJ; Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Rome;

      Rev. Fr. Mark Sheridan, OSB; Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Pontifici
      Anselmo, Rome;

      Rev. Fr. Boghos Levon Zekiyan; Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Rome;

      Rev. Fr. Paul Rouhana, OLM; Universite Saint-Esprit, Kaslik, Jounieh;

      Prof. Dietmar W. Winkler; School of Theology, Boston University, USA;
      Secretariat: Mgr Johan Bonny (co-secretary), staff-member of the Pontifical
      Promoting Christian Unity.


      Metropolitan Bishoy - Cardinal Walter Kasper
      Cairo, 30 January 2004
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