Anglican and Oriental Orthodox churches reach historic agreements on the incarnation of Christ and procession of the Holy Spirit

 — October 9, 20159 octobre 2015

Members of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission outside St. Asaph Cathedral, Wales
Members of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission outside St. Asaph Cathedral, Wales

Historic agreements have been signed between Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches helping to heal the oldest continuing division within Christianity.

An Agreed Statement on Christology, published in North Wales this week by the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC), heals the centuries-old split between the Anglican Churches within the family of Chalcedonian Churches and the non-Chalcedonian Churches over the incarnation of Christ.

In addition, the Commission has made substantial progress on issues concerning the Holy Spirit, which have continued to keep the Churches apart over the centuries.

Leading clergy and theologians from both Christian traditions from around the world have been meeting at Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden to engage in theological dialogue, while at the same time forging deeper bonds of faith and mutual support.

His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy from the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria in Egypt and Co-Chair of the Commission said: “With this agreement we are able to heal the cause of the division between the two families of the churches worldwide which started at Chalcedon.

“There are other things which emerged during the long history since Chalcedon in the fifth century, so we have on our agenda many other topics including the position of the Holy Spirit, which we were able to sign a preliminary agreement on this subject also.

Christology: Agreed Statement by the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission

“The publication of our Agreed Statement on Christology is a great outcome of sharing dialogue together. It is a very beautiful piece of theology which is very encouraging and easily understandable to the people and pleasing to the theologians.”

The Commission has spent a week in North Wales talking and visiting church communities across the Diocese of St Asaph. Speaking during Evensong at St Asaph Cathedral, the Anglican Co-Chair of the Commission, The Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, who hosted the visit, said: “It’s a privilege to welcome you to this building which has seen worship every day for at least 800 years, although this is a tradition which can be easily matched and bettered by the Churches of the East.

“Ecumenical dialogue can be long, but beneath the process is the love shared between Christians, and it is that love and affection which draws us together and back to dialogue and mutual understanding.”

The Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission was established in 2001 to strengthen the relationships between the different Churches and to discuss important theological issues, such as Christology, which divided the Church at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD.

The dialogue was halted in 2003 following the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson in The Episcopal Church (in the United States) but resumed in 2013 with good progress being made since.

As well as dialogue, the Commission worshipped and prayed, sharing the urgent concerns of members from the Middle East, especially in the critical situations in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and other regions. Metropolitan Polycarp Augin Aydın from the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Netherlands explained why this agreement is important now: “Because of immigration we now find ourselves side by side as neighbours. In the past we used to talk about Eastern and Western Christianity but this is no longer the case. There are Eastern Christians who live in the Western Countries and vice versa. Therefore we have to dialogue with each other and to really learn from one another and to really share our treasures with one another.”

Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK said: “The world we are living in today is a world that needs us as Christians to stand together.

“Around our commission table, we have the Armenians commemorating the Armenian Genocide, the Syrians and Iraqis whose countries are war-torn and peoples displaced, the Copts who have lost 21 of their men to that horrific martyrdom in Libya, the Ethiopians likewise in Libya, and here in Europe we also have our own struggles. It is very much time for us to stand together as Church leaders and to recognise what we have in common while at the same time respecting the differences we have.”

“Over the past 15 years since 9/11 there has been a huge appetite for us to work with other religions but unfortunately I have not seen the same appetite for many people to work with other Churches. It becomes fashionable to be able to dialogue with inter-faith communities but we do not celebrate with each other or accept each other as we are; we want others to fit into a certain mould. So I think this dialogue acknowledges that we might have different teachings on things and some matters we may never resolve, and that is the reality of it, but we are not trying to be the same, we are trying to work on what we have in common.”

For the two Church families this agreement is ground-breaking and could be a model for future ecumenical dialogue. The Very Revd Archimandrite Shahe Ananyan from the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church said: “Every signed ecumenical official document has its difficulties and has its advantages also. This document I think is a model for other Christological dialogues between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches which need to re-start. I think this document could be served as a model for subsequently developed dialogues.”

The Commission will meet again in Lebanon from 24-29 October 2016, where it is expected that dialogue on the Holy Spirit will continue.

Posted: October 9, 2015 • Permanent link: Add a comment
Categories: ACNS, Communiqué, DialogueIn this article: Anglican Communion, Christology, dialogue, Oriental Orthodox
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Catégorie : ACNS, Communiqué, DialogueDans cet article : Anglican Communion, Christology, dialogue, Oriental Orthodox

Canada’s First Nations urge churches to press for improved conditions in aboriginal communities

 — October 8, 20158 octobre 2015

Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. Photo: United Church of CanadaWhat do indigenous peoples expect of churches in light of the report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on church-run residential schools for aboriginal children? Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, responds in this interview with the World Council of Churches (WCC) Communications.

The TRC report on the impact of more than 100 years of residential schools includes 94 recommendations addressed to the country’s federal and provincial governments, churches and society at large. A number are related to concerns for child welfare, education, and health in indigenous communities.

Canada’s best-known aboriginal leader Perry Bellegarde is urging the country’s churches to take advantage of the current federal election campaign to press for measures to close the gap in the standard of living between Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

“The gap is not good for the country. There is a high social cost,” says Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the advocacy organization representing Canada’s 900,000 aboriginal people.

Bellegarde is urging church members to ask candidates about their plans for improving schooling, health care, and housing in Indigenous communities. … Read more » … À suivre »

Historic meeting of Pentecostal leaders in Brazil marks a new liberation from colonialism

 — October 5, 20155 octobre 2015

The Brazil consultation of the Pentecostal Forum of Latin America and the Caribbean (FPLC) was held May 27-29, 2015 in Ipiranga (São Paolo), BrazilIn May of this year, at Ipiranga (São Paolo), where Brazilian independence was proclaimed in 1822, a group of Pentecostal leaders from across the country gathered to consider vital concerns facing the church. They discussed difficult issues in depth. This included matters such as ‘power and hierarchy’, ‘race, ethnicity and gender’, ‘theology’, and ‘Christian unity’.
After three days of fellowship they signed a joint message affirming the need for Pentecostal churches to face institutional, theological and social challenges together.

Called the Ipiranga Statement, the message came from the Brazil consultation of the Pentecostal Forum of Latin America and the Caribbean (FPLC), which the Global Christian Forum (GCF) has accompanied. … Read more » … À suivre »

In the Sandals of the Other – Christians and Muslims working together in Nigeria

 — September 29, 201529 septembre 2015

Drawing together representatives of key stakeholders in the project, a working meeting was held at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey 27-28 September 2015, to plan for the setting up of an interreligious Centre in Nigeria with a proposed launch date of March 2016Key stakeholders in a new inter-religious centre in Nigeria have met to plan for the centre and its work, set to launch in March 2016.

The meeting was held at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, 27 to 28 September.

Institutions represented were the Jordanian Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought (RABIIT), the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI).

The project has developed as a result of a high-level international inter-religious visit to Nigeria by representatives of the WCC and RABIIT in 2012. … Read more » … À suivre »

On Promoting Climate Justice and Ending Poverty in Canada

 — September 26, 201526 septembre 2015

Photo from a sit-in at Environment Minister Jim Prentice's constituency office, Calgary Alberta, November 23, 2009. Photo: Flickr/ItzaFineDayIn conjunction with the United Nations Sustainable Development summit, currently underway, Canadian faith leaders are calling for climate justice in Canada—for all Canadians, and for the world. Together they have endorsed the statement “On Promoting Climate Justice and Ending Poverty in Canada.”

“On the same day when Pope Francis spoke at the UN General Assembly, asking for renewed ambition from wealthy countries in efforts to reach a solid international commitment to lower greenhouse gas emissions, this statement echoes the need for Canada to act,” said Joe Gunn, Executive Director of Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ).

“In midst of a federal election campaign, climate challenges, ending poverty and responding with justice to Indigenous rights cannot be dismissed. These religious signatories are right to call us to greater respect for the common good.”

CPJ, an affiliate member of the CCC, helped to draft the declaration. In 2011, the “Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change” was released by the CCC. … Read more » … À suivre »

Piazza Martin Lutero in Rome, a reminder to care for the poor

 — September 24, 201524 septembre 2015

The Piazza Martin Lutero constitutes an ecumenical witness in the daily life of residents and visitors to Rome, says Lutheran pastor Rev. Jens-Martin Kruse (right), who witnessed the inauguration of the public square with hundreds of parish members including Rev. Per Edler (left) of the Swedish-speaking congregation. Photo: Silke Kruse/LWIRome’s new Piazza Martin Lutero is not only a sign that Lutherans are welcome in the cosmopolitan Italian city but a reminder of Luther’s call for Christians to proclaim the gospel together by serving the poor.

Rev. Jens-Martin Kruse, pastor of the German-speaking congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy (ELCI) made these remarks following the 16 September inauguration of a central square named after the Reformer Martin Luther. Civic and church dignitaries attended the ceremony to officially recognize the Piazza Martin Lutero, located near the historic Colosseum amphitheater.

“And at the same time this place is also a bit troubled. Here live many refugees, the homeless. For us, there is a reminder that we have an obligation to care for these people,” said Kruse, who serves about 500 Lutherans in Rome.

Piazza Martin Lutero is the result of five years of work by a group of Protestants, including Adventists, Baptists, Methodists, Waldensians and Lutherans, who collaborate in helping the city’s migrants, children and the unemployed. … Read more » … À suivre »

Same-sex marriage ‘theologically possible,’ says Anglican commission

 — September 22, 201522 septembre 2015

Commission  members present their report to Council of General Synod members (L to R): Stephen Martin, Canon Paul Jennings, Bishop Linda Nicholls, Patricia Bays, The Rev. Paul Friesen and Archbishop John Privett. Photo: André ForgetThe church may want to look at same-sex marriages as partaking “in the same covenant” as heterosexual unions, but “on somewhat different terms,” and possibly involving alternate liturgies, recommends the report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon, released today.

Just as the New Testament describes the Gentiles in the early church as drawn into the people of Israel’s covenant with God, but not required to observe Jewish tradition, so might the Anglican Church of Canada understand same-sex couples as drawn into the same covenant as heterosexual couples, but in a new way, commission member Stephen Martin told members of the Council of General Synod (CoGS), who gathered for a special session in Toronto to receive the report.

“We’re suggesting this might be the more accurate, faithful and biblical way of thinking about what might be happening in the church today,” added commission member Canon Paul Jennings, who explained the report’s section dealing with models for same-sex marriage. “That is, it’s not a question of us redefining marriage in the abstract to be more inclusive and thereby imply, I don’t know what – that the previous understanding of marriage was wrong. But, it may be simply that God is calling same-sex couples into marriage and thereby broadening and enriching the institution without denying its previous meanings.” … Read more » … À suivre »