Friday, June 26, 2009

Orthodox-Catholic Consultation held its 76th meeting

NEW YORK (SCOBA) - The seventy-sixth meeting of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation took place at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York, June 1 to 3. The session, hosted by the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), was co-chaired by Metropolitan Maximos of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh and Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

At the meeting the Consultation continued its study of the 2007 agreed statement of the international Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, "Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church. Ecclesial Communion, Conciliarity and Authority." The members heard analyses of the text, also known as "The Ravenna Document," from a Catholic perspective, prepared by Leavenworth Sister of Charity Susan Wood and Father John Galvin, and from an Orthodox perspective by Father Nicholas Apostola. These presentations will form the basis of a draft common response to the international document that will be considered at the next meeting.

The Consultation also heard two presentations of points of convergence that have emerged in its ongoing study of primacies and conciliarity in the Church. One text was prepared by Jesuit Father Brian Daley and Vito Nicastro, Ph.D., and a second one, from an Orthodox perspective, by Father James Dutko. The authors of these two studies will prepare a draft agreed statement on this theme for consideration at the fall 2009 meeting.

Archbishop Pilarczyk shared with the members of the Consultation that, with his imminent retirement, he intends to resign as Co-Chairman of the dialogue. Metropolitan Maximos expressed gratitude to the Archbishop for his seven years of service. The Consultation presented Archbishop Pilarczyk with a copy of the book, "The Rublev Trinity," by Gabriel Bunge. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the Chairman of the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, intends to name a new Catholic Co-Chairman of the Consultation in due course.

The seventy-seventh meeting of the Consultation is due to take place from October 22-24, at Saint Paul's College in Washington.

In addition to the co-chairs, the Consultation include Orthodox representatives Father Thomas FitzGerald (Secretary), Father Nicholas Apostola, Father John Erickson, Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Ph.D., Father James Dutko, Paul Meyendorff, Ph.D., Father Alexander Golitzin, Robert Haddad, Ph.D., Father Robert Stephanopoulos, Father Theodore Pulcini, and Father Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA (staff).

Additional Catholic members are Jesuit Father Brian Daley (Secretary), Thomas Bird, Ph.D., Sylvain Destrempes, Ph.D., Father Peter Galadza, Chorbishop John D. Faris, Father John Galvin, Father Sidney Griffith, Father Joseph Komonchak, Father Paul McPartlan, Father David Petras, Sister Susan K. Wood, Vito Nicastro, Ph.D., and Paulist Father Ronald Roberson, who serves as staff.

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation is sponsored jointly by the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since its establishment in 1965, the Consultation has issued 22 agreed statements on various topics.

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