Church

Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches Reach Historic Agreements

AOOIC Group

A new publication containing the Agreed Statement on Christology of the Anglican–Oriental Orthodox International Commission 2014 was launched during Vespers in St Asaph Cathedral by the Co–Chairs of the commission, the Rt Revd Gregory K Cameron Bishop of St Asaph, and His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietta, in the presence of the Rt Revd Dr Geoffrey Rowell, former Co–Chair of the Commission and co–signatory to the Statement.

The Commission completed its work on the Procession of the Holy Spirit, agreeing on the omission of the Filioque clause that had been appended to the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed in the Latin Western tradition. The Co–Chairs signed an Agreed Statement on the procession of the Holy Spirit, which is Part A of our ongoing work on our theological understanding of the Holy Spirit. A detailed discussion of the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church followed, including a discussion of the four marks of the Church, namely: oneness, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity. The Commission has designated a drafting group which prepared a preliminary draft and will continue to work on Part B of our theological understanding of the Holy Spirit.

The Commission discussed the present situation of Christians in the Middle East and heard reports on the difficulties facing Churches, particularly in Syria and Iraq. There was a consideration of the most practical ways in which the Anglican Communion in its various countries could respond effectively to the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe.

Read it all here.

Church

Bishop(ess) Proposes Church Remove all Christian Symbols… to Create Space for Muslims

In Sweden.

Calling Muslim guests to the church “angels“, the Bishop later took to her official blog to explain that removing Christian symbols from the church and preparing the building for Muslim prayer doesn’t make a priest any less a defender of the faith. Rather, to do any less would make one “stingy towards people of other faiths”.

The bishop insisted this wasn’t an issue, after all airports and hospitals already had multi-faith prayer rooms, and converting the dockyard church would only bring it up to speed. Regardless, the announcement has aroused protest.

Father Patrik Pettersson, one of the priests in her diocese and active in the same parish as the Seaman’s mission church has hit back in a blog of his own, complaining there is no way you could equate a consecrated church with a prayer room, remarking “I should have thought a bishop would be able to tell the difference”.

How novel. Oh, by the way, the Bishopess is also the world’s first openly lesbian bishop. I wouldn’t bet on Muslim being as reciprocating…

Church

Christian Leaders May Return to Nicaea: What Does It Mean?

In 2025, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians could go back to the place where early followers of Jesus tried to create a consensus among all of Christendom.

The Atlantic has more:

Mark your calendars: In 2025, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians may return to Nicaea, the spot in modern-day Turkey where Christianity was literally defined. In 325, early followers of Jesus came together to figure out what it means to be a Christian; the goal was to create theological consensus across all of Christendom. This was way before the faith sub-divided into East vs. West, Catholics vs. Protestants, Southern Baptists vs. Primitive Baptists—these were the early days of the religion, when it still seemed like it could be observed as one, united faith. The council’s effect on Christianity was huge; for one thing, most Bible-school students still learn some version of the Nicene Creed, the profession of Christian faith.

On his way home from a meeting with Pope Francis in the Holy Land, Patriarch Bartholomew I, the primary leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians, gave an interview in which he said that he and Francis are planning a gathering in Nicaea 11 years from now “to celebrate together, after 17 centuries , the first truly ecumenical synod.” That’s a pretty big deal; in 1054, theological disagreements led to a schism in Christianity, which is how Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians became separate faith traditions. This is a call back to a time before the schism, before the fundamental disagreements that kept popes and patriarchs from talking to each other for more than 900 years.

But the specifics are still pretty fuzzy. Will it be a formal ecumenical council, with leaders from the two faiths earnestly trying to reconcile their theological differences? Or will it be just what Bartholomew said—a celebration, full of meaningful dialogue but little actual change? Hard to tell, says Rocco Palmo, the author of the blog Whispers in the Loggia. 

“It’s 12 years away,” he pointed out. Trying to predict what will happen in 2025 is like an extreme version of confidently declaring who will be president of the United States in 2016—there’s just no way to know. Plus, Francis and Bartholomew are both in their 70s. Bartholomew said the pair wanted to leave this council “as a legacy to ourselves and our successors,” which seems like an acknowledgment that they could both be dead—or retired—11 years from now.

There’s also the challenge of getting Catholics and Orthodox Christians on board for whatever they want to do. “If the pope wants to do this, the Catholic side will be lined up, but if the ecumenical patriarch wants to, some will come and some will not,” Palmo said. Bartholomew is the archbishop of Constantinople, meaning that he is “the first among equals” in the Eastern Orthodox churches, but he doesn’t have power over other patriarchs.

And besides, Palmo said, Francis still has work to do at home—for example, his synod on Catholic doctrine on the family, to be held in October. “He’s got to pull this synod off first—his successor can roll back anything, which is why he is taking his time,” Palmo said.

But is there a possibility that this could be a serious attempt to reconcile the division between East and West? Yes. “It’s a beautiful hope,” Palmo said. “It’s the prayer that Jesus had.”

 

Church

Ecumenical Synod: Nicaea 2025

UPDATEChristian leaders may return to Nicaea: What does it mean?

This via Asian News:

On his return from Jerusalem , where he met with Pope Francis at the Holy Sepulchre, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, has revealed an important appointment for unity between Catholics and Orthodox: a gathering at Nicaea in 2025, where the first real ecumenical council of the undivided Church was celebrated.

Speaking exclusively with AsiaNews, Bartholomew says that together with Pope Francis “we agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries , the first truly ecumenical synod, where the Creed was first promulgated”.

The Council of Nicaea (now Iznik, 130 km south- east of Istanbul) , brought together more than 300 bishops from East and West in  325 and is considered the first true ecumenical council. It was there that the formula of the Creed was decided, similar to the one recited during the liturgy today, saying that Jesus “is co-substantial to the Father,”to counter the Aryan ideology.

Francis and Bartolomew met to mark 50 years since the embrace between Paul VI and Athenagoras. The 1964 meeting broke a centuries old silence between the Christian East and the West, with all the socio-political consequences that have arisen, and from which Europe still suffers.

The meeting at the Holy Sepulchre has revitalized dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox , two Christian visions that despite their differences, have a common vision of the sacraments and  apostolic tradition.

“The dialogue for unity between Catholics and Orthodox – Bartholomew tells AsiaNews – will start again from Jerusalem. In this city, in the autumn , a meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Joint Commission  will be held hosted by the Greek -Orthodox patriarch Theophilos III . It is a long journey in which we all must be committed without hypocrisy”.

“Jerusalem – continues Bartholomew – is the place, the land of the dialogue between God and man, the place where the Logos of God was incarnated. Our predecessors Paul VI and Athenagoras have chosen this place to break a silence that lasted centuries between the two sister Churches”.

“I walked with my brother Francis in the Holy Land not with the fears of Luke and Cleopas on their way to Emmaus (cf. Luke 24: 13-35), but inspired by a living hope which we learn from our Lord”.

 

Church

Orthodox Churches Will Hold First Ecumenical Council In 1,200 Years

In Istanbul:

Main Entry Image

 Patriarchs of the world’s 250  million Orthodox Christians ended a rare summit in Istanbul on  Sunday calling for a peaceful end to the crisis in Ukraine and  denouncing violence driving Christians out of the Middle East.

Twelve heads of autonomous Orthodox churches, the  second-largest family of Christian churches, also agreed to hold  a summit of bishops, or ecumenical council, in 2016, which will  be the first in over 1,200 years.

The Istanbul talks were called to decide on the council,  which the Orthodox have been preparing on and off since the  1960s, but the Ukraine crisis overshadowed their talks at the  office of spiritual leader Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

As the prelates left a special service at Saint George’s  Cathedral, a woman in the crowd called out in Russian “Pray for  Ukraine!” Two archbishops responded: “You pray, too!”

In their communique, the patriarchs called for “peaceful negotiations and prayerful reconciliation in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine” and denounced what they said were “threats of violent occupation of sacred monasteries and churches” there.

The Russian Orthodox Church, with 165 million members by far  the largest in the Orthodox family, last month issued a  statement along with Moscow’s Foreign Ministry about what they  said were attacks on revered historic monasteries in Kiev and  Pochayiv in western Ukraine.

Russia has used the alleged threat to Russian-speakers in  Ukraine, including the faithful of the Moscow-backed church  there, to argue it has the right to intervene to protect them.

Closely aligned with President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine  policy, the Russian church has a partner Ukrainian Orthodox  Church mostly in the Russian-speaking east of the country that  is loyal to the Moscow patriarchate.

There are two rival Orthodox churches mostly in western  Ukraine, both meant to be Ukrainian national churches. Neither  is part of the global Orthodox communion and the patriarchs’  communique expressed the hope they would one day join it.

On the Middle East, the patriarchs denounced “the lack of  peace and stability, which is prompting Christians to abandon  the land where our Lord Jesus Christ was born.”

Rest here.

 

Church

Work of ARCIC Irrelevant

So says Lord Carey:

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey (PA) Below: 'Anglicans and Christians might as well be 'talking on the moon' (Christian Adams)

Catholics and Anglicans involved in formal ecumenical dialogue might as well be “talking on the moon” because no one is listening to them, a former Anglican leader has said.

Lord Carey of Clifton said the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) was “irrelevant” to most Christians, who were motivated by relations at grassroots level. He suggested that financial grounds alone might justify the abandoning of the ecumenical project in favour of local projects underpinned by good will and a shared commitment to charity.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury said 45 years of attempts to bring about visible unity by bridging theological differences had “run into the sand”. “I don’t know what is going on,” he said. “If you take the latest ARCIC document, I think it is so irrelevant to the ordinary Christian – Catholic, Anglican or Methodist – that it might as well be talking on the moon.”

Rest here.