New document from the theological dialogue with the Assyrian Church of the East

25 Jan 2023

The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East agreed on a new document entitled The Images of the Church in the Syriac and Latin Patristic Traditions.

The document analyses some images of the Church developed in the early Church by the Latin and Syriac Fathers, such as the wife, the mother, the vineyard, the flock, the spiritual hospital and the ship. For each of these images, the study presents the biblical foundations, the patristic developments, both in the Latin and Syriac traditions, and then draws some theological conclusions. The aim is to show that these images, common to both traditions, although sometimes expressed and understood with different nuances, may help us to find together the foundations of a common ecclesiology.

The document, finalized by the Commission at its last plenary session, was signed on 19 November 2022 by Cardinal Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, and Metropolitan Mar Meelis Zaia, Co-Chairman of the Commission, and delivered to Pope Francis the same day.

After the Joint Christological Statement of 1994 and the Joint Statement on 'Sacramental Lifeof 2017 this is the third document of the Catholic-Assyrian dialogue.

For a presentation of the new document: see the article in L'Osservatore Romano of 24 January 2023 by Rev. Fr. Hyacinthe Destivelle OP, Co-secretary of the Commission.