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FW: Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission Adopts Common Statement onEucharist

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  • Rev Fr John Brian
    Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission Adopts Common Statement on Eucharist 25 Years of International Dialogue BRATISLAVA, Slovak Republic/GENEVA, 6 December 2006
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 6, 2006
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      Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission Adopts Common Statement on Eucharist
      25 Years of International Dialogue

      BRATISLAVA, Slovak Republic/GENEVA, 6 December 2006 (LWI) - The participants
      of the 13th Plenary of the international Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission
      have affirmed recognition of the "broad areas of agreement" in their
      respective traditions with a view to the understanding of the Eucharist in
      the life of the church. They adopted a Common Statement titled, "The Mystery
      of the Church: The Holy Eucharist in the Life of the Church."

      In a communiqué from the 2 - 9 November meeting of the Joint Commission in
      Bratislava, Slovak Republic, members of the international dialogue group
      stated that the "Orthodox and Lutherans both confess that Christ's body and
      blood are united with bread and wine, to be consumed by communicants,
      uniting them with Christ and with each other."

      In the communiqué, the church representatives responsible for the
      theological dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran World
      Federation (LWF) noted that they explored "the two traditions' differing,
      but often converging reflections on the mystery of how the sacramental union
      takes place and on the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist." They
      underscored the Eucharist's eschatological dimension and stressed its
      significance for ecology and social action.

      The Joint Commission reiterated its strong affirmation of the continuation
      of the international dialogue between the Orthodox and Lutherans, pointing
      out that there was a genuine growth in mutual ecumenical understanding and
      appreciation. Official conversations between Lutherans and Orthodox at
      international level began in 1981 in Espoo, Finland, after three years of
      preparatory meetings.

      On 4 November, the participants in the recent plenary session commemorated
      the 25th anniversary of the Joint Commission with a celebration at the
      Theological Faculty of the Comenius University in Bratislava, in the
      presence of local church leaders and ecumenical guests.

      In his greeting to the commission members, LWF General Secretary, Rev. Dr
      Ishmael Noko said the sequence of the Common Statements from the dialogue
      were an indication that the official Orthodox and Lutheran representatives
      at the world level "have been able to travel together a journey of
      theological investigation considering the broad, fundamental subjects
      pertaining to the understanding of salvation and the church."

      He noted that "the road is open for further, and even more specific
      discussions" in order for the two Christian traditions to move more
      concretely toward the commonly-desired real and visible forms of ecclesial

      His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I noted in his
      official greeting that the Joint Commission had already completed 25 years
      of fruitful and constructive cooperation. "We give thanks to God for this,
      and we pray that you may continue progressing, overcoming the known
      difficulties, and reach decisions which advance the theological discussions
      and lead us closer to each other as it is the expressed will of the Lord and
      Savior of all," he said.

      The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Slovak Republic
      hosted the Joint Commission's meeting on behalf of the LWF. The
      international dialogue group is co-chaired by co-presidents, Metropolitan
      Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima (The Ecumenical Patriarchate) and Bishop
      Donald J. McCoid (LWF) from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the
      Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

      The Commission agreed to extend its reflection on "The Holy Eucharist in the
      Life of the Church" with a focus on the topics, "Preparation and Celebration
      of the Eucharist" and "Eucharist and Ecology" (including Human Society).

      The next meeting of the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission is scheduled for
      early June 2008. (576 words)

      The documents listed below can be downloaded from the LWF Web site in PDF

      Communiqué of the 13th Plenary of the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission,

      Common Statement on “The Mystery of the Church: D. The Holy Eucharist in the
      Life of the Church,”

      Greeting from LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko,

      Patriarchal Greetings from His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch
      Bartholomew I,

      * * *

      (The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran
      tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, the LWF currently has 140 member
      churches in 78 countries all over the world, with a total membership of 66.2
      million. The LWF acts on behalf of its member churches in areas of common
      interest such as ecumenical and interfaith relations, theology, humanitarian
      assistance, human rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission
      and development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.)

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      * * *

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