Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

 — Dec. 8, 19948 déc. 1994

The Commission for dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church met at the Spirituality Center of the Syro-Malabar Church at Kottayam (Kerala, South India) December 5-8, 1994. All Commission members were present.

1. The principal subject was the study on the role of the Episcopate in guaranteeing the Unity of the Church. After taking up again the text on “Synodal Structure and Practice” (P.M.O. John) two other documents were presented: “Koinonia in the Church” (Mar Severios) and “Ecclesial Communion: A biblical-theological perspective” (P.M. Vellanickal). The sub-commission has begun to draft a first synthesis on “the Church as Communion (Koinonia)” which has been discussed by the assembly.

These progressive studies, which have not led immediately to concrete decisions, have engaged the commission in a process of successive approaches to the mystery of the Church and more precisely of its sacramental structure which is common to the two Churches. These approaches also permit us to perceive the links between this structure and the exercise of authority in the Church. It has therefore asked a sub-commission to explore more deeply the notions of authority (exousia) and of service (diakonia in the Church understood as communion (koinonia).

2. Another sub-commission will try to develop a common reading of the history of the Church in India. Two reports were presented by Father M.O. John, the first on “the relations of the Malabar Church with the Oriental party of the Syrian Church in the sixteenth century” and the second on “the impact of the arrival of the Portuguese on the Malankara Church”; but these were not discussed by the sub-commission. Furthermore, there will be work to establish an inventory with an eye toward preserving that which remains of the Christian patrimony of India before the arrival of the Portuguese.

3. The question of the mixed marriages has been studied again but it has not been possible to arrive at an agreement on this important pastoral problem. A sub-commission will continue the reflection during 1995. The Orthodox point of view on “the indissolubility of marriage” has been presented (Fr. Johns Abraham), and the Catholics will present their view at the next meeting.

4. Finally, the new sub-commission on “the common witness of the Church in Kerala” has been constituted. A list of problems which the Churches ought to face together has been established: culture and faith (inculturation), interreligious dialogue, education and school policy, the impact of the media in the process of secularization, the formation of future priests and of the clergy, corruption in society and also in ecclesiastical institutions. After close reflection, the commission thinks that the two priority questions in India are the dialogue with other religions and corruption. A process has been elaborated and will be implemented with the assistance of competent persons.

At the end of the meeting, the Catholic delegation gave information on the preparation of the Jubilee of the year 2000 (cf. John Paul II: “Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente” of November 10, 1994) and on the recent Common Christological Declaration signed in Rome with the Assyrian Church of the East on November 11, 1994. Then in a free exchange where each was able to express himself, two recommendations were made. Concerning the method of work, it seems indispensable that in regular meetings during the year, the sub-commissions study the themes adopted even with the help of outside experts, and present a synthesis at the annual meeting of the international Commission. It seems equally important that the faithful be interested in the work of the Commission. Therefore it is necessary not only to give information on the progress of our reflection but also to link this reflection closely to concrete pastoral problems. Furthermore, always in order to better connect this work to reflection on the local level, the Commission stresses the need to establish a more intense collaboration with the bishops and their various decision making institutions (Synods, Councils, Conferences).

After deciding that the next meeting would be held on October 9-14, 1995 at Kottayam (at the Sophia Center of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church), the Commission thanked the Apostolic Oblates of the Spirituality Center for their discrete and delicate attention to all its needs.

For the Catholic Church:
H.E. Msgr Pierre Duprey, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome (Co-President);
H.E. Mar Joseph Powathil, Archbishop of Changanacherry;
H.E. Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry, Bishop of Kottayam;
H.E. Msgr Patrick D’Souza, Bishop of Benares (Varanasi);
H.E. Cyril Mar Baselios Malancharuvil, Bishop of Battery;
Rev. Father Dr. Clarence Gallagher, S.J., Rome;
Rev. Father Dr. Matthew Vellanickal, Kottayam;
Rev. Father Dr. Xavier Koodapuzha, Kottayam;
Rev. Father Dr. Geevarghese Chediath, Trivandrum;
Rev. Father Bernard Dubasque, Rome (Co-Secretary).

For the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church:
H.E. Philipos Mar Theophilos;
H.E. Paulos Mar Gregarios (Co-President);
H.E. Mathews Mar Severios;
Very Rev. Ramban Theophoros;
Rev. Father Dr. K.M. George;
Rev. Father Dr. Jacob Kurian;
Rev. Father Johns Abraham Konat;
Rev. Father Dr. John Mathews (Co-Secretary);
Rev. Father Dr. M.O. John;
Rev. Father Mathai Nooranal;
Mr. P.C. Abraham;
Mr. A.K. Thomas.

Posted: Dec. 8, 1994 • Permanent link: ecumenism.net/?p=8540
Categories: CommuniquéIn this article: Catholic, dialogue, India, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Transmis : 8 déc. 1994 • Lien permanente : ecumenism.net/?p=8540
Catégorie : CommuniquéDans cet article : Catholic, dialogue, India, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

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