Coordinating Committee of Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox Churches begins work

The Coordinating Committee of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church began its work in Rome on 22 November 2011. Taking part in the meeting as consultants on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church are Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, and archimandrite Kirill (Govorun), first deputy chairman of the Education Committee of the Russian Orthodox Church.

At the beginning of the meeting, members of the committee decided unanimously to send congratulations to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on his 65th birthday. The two co-chairmen, His Eminence Metropolitan John of Pergamon, Patriarchate of Constantinople, and Cardinal Kurt Koch signed the message.

In his address, Metropolitan Hilarion reminded the participants that a discussion of the problem of unia was a precondition of the return of the Russian Orthodox Church to the process of the dialogue. This position was espoused by the Orthodox participants in the meeting. The problems of general methodology of elaborating the document on the primacy of the Roman Pontiff were discussed at the suggestion of Metropolitan Hilarion, who believes that the methodology should reflect the centuries-old experience of the Orthodox dispute against papal claims to universal authority in the Church.

The Commission will continue its work until 25 November.

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