Second and third parts of “Listening to the East” symposium

28 Nov 2022

On Wednesday 23 November, Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity (DPCU), and Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, inaugurated the second part of the international ecumenical symposium “Listening to the East”, organized at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas  on the initiative of the Pro Oriente Foundation and the Institute for Ecumenical Studies of the Angelicum under the patronage of the DPUC and the General Secretariat of the Synod. In his greeting, Cardinal Koch made reference to the address given by Pope Francis during the audience with Catholicos Patriarch Mar Awa III, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, in which the Holy Father affirmed that “[t]he journey of synodality undertaken by the Catholic Church is and must be ecumenical, just as the ecumenical journey is synodal”.

The inaugural conference, entitled “The Theology of Synodality in the Church of the East”, was delivered by His Holiness Mar Awa III. The programme, devoted to synodality in the Syriac traditions, included presentations by Mor Policarpus Aydin and Mar Paulus Benjamin, as well as reflections on ecumenical interaction in the Syriac tradition by Professor Souraya Bechealany and Dr Ruth Mathen.

The third part of the symposium, dedicated to synodality in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, was inaugurated on Friday 25 November. In his opening address, Cardinal Koch stated that “this conference is the first ecumenical conference on synodality in the Oriental Orthodox traditions. Indeed, we know very little about the understanding and practices of synodality in the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian and Malankara Orthodox traditions, as well as about their interactions”. The inaugural lecture, entitled "The Theology of Synodality in the Oriental Orthodox Churches”, was delivered by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, representative to the Holy See of the Armenian Apostolic Church, See of Etchmiadzin. There were also several presentations on synodality as understood and experienced in the four different Oriental Orthodox traditions (Coptic, Armenian, Malankara and Ethiopian).

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