A plenary session of the International Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is taking place this week in Ravenna, Italy. Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, frequent speaker at Orientale Lumen Conferences, is a member of the dialogue and is participating in the meeting, along with Fr. Paul McPartlan from CUA in Washington, another recent OL speaker. More details about the meeting were recently published by Vatican Information Service:
RAVENNA: DIALOGUE BETWEEN CATHOLICS AND ORTHODOX
VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2007 (VIS) – From October 8 to 15, the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox is holding its 10th plenary assembly in Ravenna, Italy, according to a communique issued by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. This session is the second to be held since the reactivation of dialogue during the 2006 plenary in Belgrade. The commission was established in 1979 by Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I, and held its first assembly in Patmos-Rhodes in 1980. The document to be analyzed by the commission at its current gathering is entitled “the ecclesiological and canonical consequences of the sacramental nature of the Church – conciliarity and sinodality in the Church.” The study of this document, the communique reads, “was part of the program agreed at
Patmos-Rhodes in 1980” but was “suspended to make way for questions concerning the relationship of Orthodoxy with the Oriental Catholic Churches following the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe. With the plenary of Belgrade, the commission reactivated its normal theological agenda.”
The commission is made up of 60 members, 30 Catholics and 30 Orthodox, and is jointly presided by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and His Excellency Ioannis (Zizioulas), metropolitan of Pergamo. The Catholic members are cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and lay experts in various fields. The orthodox members represent – in the order indicated by Fanar – the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Serbia, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Romania, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Bulgaria, the Orthodox Church of Georgia, the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the Orthodox Church of Greece, the Orthodox Church of Poland, the Orthodox Church of Albania, the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and of Slovakia, the Orthodox Church of Finland, and the Orthodox
Church of Estonia.
Metropolitan Kallistos gave an extraordinary talk at the OL conference held last May at the Orthodox Seminary on Halki, Constantinople on the subject of Church structure, known as “ecclesiology.” This talk directly relates to the subject of the Ravenna meeting, and I believe His Eminence will have a good deal of influence in their deliberations.
OLTV has just completed editing and converting that presentation from OL EuroEast II into a viewable set of eight video clips on the website at www.oltvweb.com. They can be found under EVENTS/OL PLENARIES/OL EuroEast II: Liturgical Worship of the Eastern Church, which was the theme of that conference. You will need to register online (which is free) to obtain a userid and password to view the clips. This talk is also available for purchase in DVD form for $20.00 from Eastern Christian Publications (www.ecpubs.com).
Given the timeliness of his talk and the meeting of the international dialogue, I hope everyone will have a chance to listen to Metropolitan Kallistos’ thoughts about his views of three levels of church organization. Let us all pray fervently that the Holy Spirit will guide the members of the International Commission and that their deliberations this week will continue to lead the One Church of Christ toward the unity that He desires.