Plenary session of theological dialogue with Oriental Orthodox Churches

24 Jun 2022

The Joint International Commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches held its 18th plenary session in Rome from 20‒24 June 2022, hosted by the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.

Co‒presided by Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect, and His Grace Kyrillos, Auxiliary Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, USA, the session gathered 23 representatives of the Catholic Church and various Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Concluding the third phase of dialogue, the Commission unanimously approved a new document entitled “The Sacraments in the Life of the Church”. Signed by its Co‒Presidents on Thursday 23 June, the document was presented on the same day to Pope Francis during a private audience.

As outlined in its Report, the Commission has now commenced a new phase of dialogue on the theme “The Holy Virgin Mary in the Teaching and the Life of the Church”. Various papers on this theme were discussed, in particular on the Dormition/Assumption of the Mother of God.

The next meeting of the Commission will continue this theme from 31 January to 4 February 2023 at the Monastery of Saint Bishoy in Wadi El‒Natrun, Egypt.

The last in‒presence meeting of the Commission was held in Atchaneh, Lebanon, in 2020, hosted by the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch. The Commission held an online meeting from 26‒28 January 2022.

Founded in 2003, the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches includes representatives of the Catholic Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Armenian Apostolic Church (Catholicossate of All Armenians – See of Echamiadzin and Catholicossate of Cilicia), the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

The Commission has already published two documents, the first in 2009 on the “Nature, Constitution and Mission of the Church”, and the second in 2015 on “The Exercise of Communion in the Life of the Early Church and its Implications for Our Search for Communion Today”.