On Wednesday 2 November, Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity (DPCU), opened the international ecumenical symposium on synodality in the Orthodox Church, entitled “Listening to the East”, organized at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas d'Aquino upon the initiative of the Pro Oriente Foundation and the Angelicum Institute for Ecumenical Studies, and under the patronage of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
In his address, Cardinal Koch stated that the idea of the symposium dated back to July 2021, when the DPCU made the suggestion to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops to organize academic ecumenical conferences on synodality in the different Christian traditions, in order to foster the ecumenical dimension of the ongoing process on synodality. “The original idea was that these conferences could serve as ‘pre-synodal consultations’ on how the different Christian traditions understand and practice synodality”, he commented, highlighting the relevance of the initiative also for the current Catholic‒Orthodox theological dialogue, as well as for the preparation of the anniversary of the Council of Nicaea.
Greetings were also addressed during the opening of the symposium by Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Metropolitan Job Getcha, Co-President of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, and Dr Alfons Kloss, President of the Pro Oriente Foundation, who read a message from Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.
The inaugural lecture, entitled “The Orthodox Church is a Synodal Church”, was delivered by His Excellency Bishop Maxim (Vasiljević) of the Serbian Orthodox Church. This first conference will be attended by about 50 theologians from all the Orthodox Churches of the Byzantine tradition.
The conference, which aims to listen to the different conceptions and experiences of synodality in the Orthodox Church, will be followed by a second conference dedicated to the Syriac tradition (programme) and to the different Oriental Orthodox traditions (programme).
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