Tuesday, October 8, 2019

OO-EO joint commission meets after decade-long pause

NEW YORK (EA) – Representatives of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christian churches met today at the Armenian Cathedral of St. Vartan for the first meeting of the joint commission in nearly a decade. The meeting began with a common prayer service followed by open discussions.

Recognizing doctrinal agreement, as established in the 1990’s by the official international theological dialogue, the delegations deliberated on practical ways to progress the relationships between Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches in the United States of America. The holy mysteries of marriage and baptism were addressed, and a committee was formed to explore existing agreements and study their application in the American context. Furthermore, religious education programs were presented, and areas of common concern were identified. A committee to discern ministerial overlap in this regard was also established. Finally, common areas of advocacy, including concerns in the Middle East, were identified and tabled for a future meeting.

Bishop David of the Coptic Orthodox Church commented, “this meeting is joyful, historic, and promising. It is joyful because, as King David says, ‘behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.’ It is historic because it is building upon the work of our predecessors. It is promising because there is a spirit of good will and potential to move forward in faith and in hope.”

Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America reflected, “it is no secret that the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox relationships are the closest relationships in the Christian world. Despite this, we continue to develop ministries independently and remain separated Eucharistically. Indeed, I am deeply saddened by this notion, but am encouraged by the willingness on both sides to return to the table to discuss ways forward. This practical approach will breathe life into the Church.”

The dialogue concluded by establishing a date for a joint Christmas concert to be held at the Mor Aphrem Center in Paramus, New Jersey, on Sunday, December 8, 2019. In addition to the concert, a Pan-Orthodox (Eastern and Oriental) youth conference will be held in summer 2020. The joint commission will meet again on December 4, 2019.


  1. Premised on the false idea that doctrinal unity has already been achieved.

  2. We need to start and implement as soon as possible, otherwise we turn our backs on the basic tenents of our Christian faith,,,isn't unity in Christ always be our objective? We need to start building more Bridges and continue to read down the walls that should not have been built in the first place.

  3. Even if the Orientals can come up with a theologically acceptable christological formula, there are still saints on each side who are anathematized by the other, not to mention the declaration in their liturgy that the Holy Trinity was crucified, not just Christ.

    Until that is resolved, nothing more than friendship can, or should, be offered.

    1. They definitely do not say that the Holy Trinity was crucified. They simply understand the Trisagion to be a prayer to Christ, which it was historically and still is in some of its Orthodox liturgical uses.

  4. It is heartbreaking to see the proactivity of the new GOA Abp acting in concert with the proactivity of his EP to encourage ecumenism and political correctness...and as a layperson to see no constructive visible response to this from the Church of Greece, nonRussian Patriarchs of the Local Churches, the GOA and Mt Athos priests, monks and nuns. Axios to the 7 Metropolitans of the Church of Greece who courageously voted nay Saturday.. True Unity is open to all who adopt by free will the Traditions and Canons of the Holy Orthodox Church which presently ROCOR and the ROC are acting visibly to honor. May God have mercy on our souls and our Church. May Panagia protect us from both schism and heresy. My wise spiritual father taught me that God plus one is a majority. Please pray for me that I will not be disheartened, a great temptation right now. Thank you in Christ!

  5. PS Axios to the 10 Metropolitans of the COG (per latest report), glory to God.