From 16-20 September 2019 the Society for the Law of Eastern Churches celebrated the 50th anniversary of its foundation with a symposium in Rome entitled "Fifty years of encounters between the Oriental Churches. How can canon law contribute to ecumenical dialogue?". The symposium, which brought together more than 80 professors and experts from different churches (Eastern Catholics, Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox), was inaugurated on 16 September at the Pontifical Oriental Institute with a lecture by Patriarch Bartholomew, who was the Society’ first Vice-President.
On 19 September the members of the Society were received in private audience by Pope Francis. In her greeting, Professor Astrid Kaptijn, President of the Society, recalled the ecumenical dimension of the Society and thanked the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity for facilitating the organization of the audience. The Holy Father stressed in his speech that “Canon law is essential for ecumenical dialogue”. Indeed “many of the theological dialogues pursued by the Catholic Church, especially with the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Churches, are of an ecclesiological nature. They have a canonical dimension too, since ecclesiology finds expression in the institutions and the law of the Churches. It is clear, therefore, that canon law is not only an aid to ecumenical dialogue, but also an essential dimension”.
Photos 1-4 © SLEC et Papàs Elias al Bdeiwi
Photos 5-6 © Servizio Fotografico - Vatican Media