Friday, May 19, 2023

Orthodox-Catholic talks take place in Toronto

TORONTO (Episcopal Assembly) – The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation met from May 16-18, 2023 at St. Augustine’s Seminary of Toronto. The 101st meeting was hosted by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The twelve members present prayed together daily and enjoyed meals and fellowship, including vespers followed by a special dinner hosted by His Eminence Archbishop Sotirios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada.

In addition to those who came together in person, six members joined virtually. In the course of the meeting, the Consultation completed a joint statement on the theology and practice of marriage in both of our Churches, including its nature as a sacrament of Christian faith, its permanent, indissoluble character, and its form in the present canon law of both our Churches. The Consultation resolved its discussions on the topic of “Orthodox-Catholic Marriages” and completed the document for ultimate publication.

His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Tobin, NJ, Catholic co-chair of the Consultation stated, “this meeting was important in many ways and marks a turning point in the Consultation’s future. I am convinced that this new document on marriage offers a compassionate and specific pastoral recommendations for the care and spiritual growth of Catholic-Orthodox families.”

Additionally, the Consultation, building on the success of the past fifty-eight years, finalized a restructuring proposal that allows for more effective study on timely issues as well as greater engagement with the Orthodox and Catholic communities. The structure will provide new opportunities for Consultation to build on its successful work well into the future.

About the restructuring of the Consultation, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, Orthodox co-chair commented that “the new form envisioned for the future work of the Consultation will offer more flexibility and a renewed commitment to reconciliation between Orthodox and Catholics.” He continued, “it is our hope that the upcoming work of the Consultation will bring more visibility to this unique and historic endeavor between our two Churches.”

Both the document, entitled “The Pastoral Care of Mixed Marriages: Neither Yours nor Mine-but Ours,” and the Restructuring Proposal were approved and sent to the USCCB/CCCB and the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America for review and publication.


  1. There's a historic photo. It's the full number of the 12 people on planet earth who will remember a word of this after 72 hours have elapsed. It refers to a publication that will ultimately be released. I will put it on the shelf next to the commemorative volume about the visit of patriarch Demetrios to the US when George HW Bush was president.

  2. I have to wonder at the relevance of these meetings when there are entire sections of the Catholic Church that are declaring their intention to begin blessing same sex unions and ordaining women. It kind of reminds me of the solemn declaration some years ago from a similar group aimed at dialogue between Anglicans and Orthodox. I seem to recall they were very pleased with having narrowed their differences on some aspect of Trinitarian theology and the filioque.

    At the risk of sounding uncharitable, wouldn't they be better off spending their time on a joint plan to set up food banks and shelters for the poor and indigent? Until Rome decides whether it wishes to be catholic and apostolic, or liberal Protestant, I really don't see much point in these conversations.

  3. Chess moves and machinations towards union. Softening the ground. Bridges.

  4. I knew a OCA person on the WCC, opinion of the individual was that these commisions and WCC meetings are good for the following things 1. There are some unified societal witness topics that the consensus is great for. Losing the Orthodox voice actually hurts these discussions, especially if our objection wasnt their for consensus discussions. 2. This served as a great networking opportunity with the larger christian world and gave Orthodox churches connections in seminaries and with theological journals and funding programs. A few orthodox programs in other seminaries/universities have come from this networking. 3. It did actually serve as a witness, with a few people including children converting to Orthodoxy. Many faiths were blown away by patristic and apothetic methods, our historical perspective, and idea of big and small T tradition. It definitely has influenced many theologians in the "new Church" movement, traditional churches and evangelical traditions.