The Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group gathered for its eighteenth annual meeting from 12 to 16 October 2022 at the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the “Babeş-Bolyai” University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The meeting was chaired by the Orthodox Co-President Metropolitan Serafim (Joantă) of Germany, Central and Northern Europe (Romanian Orthodox Church), and by the Catholic Co-President Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg.
The program of the meeting focused on “Schisms in Church History: Historical Analysis and Implications for the Methodology of Today’s Ecumenical Dialogue”. Discussions centered on historical, doctrinal, and pastoral aspects. Four presentations addressed concrete examples of schisms in the early Church and early medieval period. A special session dealt with the current war in Ukraine, which raises important ecclesiological issues. The concluding lecture addressed the hermeneutical and methodological challenges for ecumenical dialogue. The reflections were summarized by the participants in a communiqué.
The Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox–Catholic Working Group, established in 2004 at Paderborn (Germany), is composed of 26 theologians, 13 Orthodox and 13 Catholics, from a number of European countries, the Middle East, and the Americas. Reverend Father Hyacinthe Destivelle, official of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, has been a member of the Irenaeus Group since 2006.
The Group’s previous meeting took place in Rome in October 2021 at the Institute for Ecumenical Studies of the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). The Group was received on 7 October 2021 in private audience by Pope Francis. The next meeting will be held in June 2023 in Balamand (Lebanon).