Inaugural Meeting of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation

 — Dec. 3, 19993 déc. 1999

[WCC News] The Special Commission on Orthodox participation in the World Council of Churches (WCC) will meet from 6 to 8 December in Morges, on Lac Léman, Switzerland. At its inaugural meeting the Commission will deal chiefly with matters of planning and procedure for the series of its Protestant-Orthodox discussions to be held over the next three years.

Longstanding tensions between Orthodox and Protestants in the WCC surfaced publicly during the preparations for the WCC’s eighth assembly in 1998, when the Orthodox churches of Georgia and Bulgaria withdrew from membership in the WCC. The Eastern Orthodox family most recently expressed its dissatisfaction with the present situation in a statement drafted at Thessaloniki, Greece, in May 1998.

In their statement, the Orthodox churches emphasized their long ecumenical tradition and their strong involvement in the WCC, but complained that the present WCC structures make adequate Orthodox participation difficult. Other points of criticism in the Thessaloniki statement referred to the lack of progress in multilateral theological discussions between Christians, liturgical language used in the WCC and questions concerning the ordination of women and sexual orientation.

In view of the differences that had emerged, it was decided at the eighth assembly in Harare in December 1998 to set up an Orthodox-Protestant Special Commission to consider the Orthodox criticisms and work out possible solutions.

Of the WCC’s present 337 member churches, 21 are Orthodox, numerically representing over one third of the Christians belonging to WCC member churches. The Russian Orthodox Church is the WCC’s largest member church.

List of participants at the Morges meeting (as at 3 December):

Dr Anna Marie Aagaard, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, Denmark
Very Rev. Nareg (Manoug) Alemezian, Armenian Apostolic Church (Cilicia), Lebanon
Hieromonk Dr Hilarion Alfeyev, Russian Orthodox Church, Russian Federation
H.E. Metropolitan Ambrosios of Kalavryta, Church of Greece, Greece
Mr George Andriadze, Georgian Orthodox Church, Georgia
Mr Andrei Dan Apostu, Orthodox Church in Czech Lands and Slovakia, Czech Republic
H.E. Metropolitan Athanasios Papas, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Turkey (Substitute for: H.E. Metropolitan Ambrosius of Oulu)
Mr Ramez Attalah, Presbyterian Church, Egypt
H.E. Archbishop Aghan Baliozian, Armenian Apostolic Church (Etchmiadzin), Australia
H.E. Metroplitan Anba Bishoy of Damiette, Coptic Orthodox Church, Egypt
Bishop Gustáv Bölcskei, Reformed Church in Hungary, Hungary
Ms Manoushag Boyadjian, Armenian Apostolic Church (Cilicia), Lebanon
Mr John Briggs, Baptist Union of Great Britain, United Kingdom
H.E. Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Ephesus, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Greece
H.E. Metropolitan Chrysostomos Zafiris, Church of Greece, Greece (Substitute for H.E. Metropolitan Ambrosius of Kozani)
H.G. Bishop Chrystopher of Olomouc and Brno, Orthodox Church in Czech Lands and Slovakia, Czech Republic
Rev. Yadessa Daba, Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Ethiopia
Mr Jean Fischer, National Protestant Church of Geneva, Switzerland
Rev. Ying Gao, China Christian Council, China
Rev. Fr Dr K.M. George, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, India
Bishop Hans Gerny, Old Catholic Church of Switzerland, Switzerland
Ms Anne Glynn-Mackoul, Greek Orth. Patr. of Antioch and All the East, United States of America
Eden Grace, Society of Friends, United States of America
Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, Reformed Church in America, United States of America
H.E. Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, Syria
Fr Mikhael Gundyaev, Russian Orthodox Church, Switzerland
Mr Gabriel Habib, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, United States of America
Bishop Dr Thomas L. Hoyt Jr, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, United States of America
Bishop Voitto Huotari, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Finland
H.E. Archbishop Jeremiasz of Wroclaw, Polish Autocephalic Orthodox Church, Poland
Ms Jana Kalinová, Czechoslovak Hussite Church, Czech Republic
H.G. Bishop Basil Karayiannis of Trimithus, Church of Cyprus, Cyprus
The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, Orthodox Church in America, United States of America
Bishop Dr Rolf Koppe, Evangelical Church of Germany, Germany
Dr John Lappas, Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, Greece
Dr Janice Love, United Methodist Church, United States of America
Archbishop Makarios Tillyrides of Zimbabwe, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, Zimbabwe
H.G. Abune Mekarios, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Ethiopia
D. Dr Soritua Nababan, Huria Kristen Batak Protestan, Indonesia
H.G. Bishop Dr Nifon of Slobodzia & Calarasi, Romanian Orthodox Church, Romania
Dr Mercy A. Oduyoye, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Ghana
Archbishop Michael Peers, Anglican Church of Canada, Canada
H.E. Metropolitan John Pelushi, Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, Albania
Rev. John Phiri, Reformed Church in Zambia, Zambia
Dr Agidew Redie, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Ethiopia
Fr Dr Ioan Sauca, Romanian Orthodox Church, Switzerland (Substitute for Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Ica, Jr.)
Prof. Constantine Scouteris, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, Greece
Archpriest David Sharashenidze, Georgian Orthodox Church, Georgia
Dr Mary Tanner, Church of England, United Kingdom
Bishop Dr Zacharias M. Theophilus, Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, United States of America
Very Rev. Dr Georges Tsetsis, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Switzerland
Rev. Dr Eugene Turner, Presbyterian Church (USA), United States of America
Rev. Dr d’Arcy Wood, Uniting Church in Australia, Australia


Dr Agnes Abuom, Anglican Church of Kenya
Bishop Vinton R. Anderson, African Methodist Episcopal Church (USA)
H.E. Metropolitan Aristarchos of Constantine, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
H.E. Bishop Ignatije of Branicevo, Serbian Orthodox Church
H.E. Bishop Irenej of Backa, Serbian Orthodox Church
Bishop Dr Christoph Klein, Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Romania
Archbishop N.W.H. Ndungane, Church of the Province of Southern Africa
Rev. Ofelia Ortega, Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba
Bishop Federico J. Pagura, Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina
Rev. Dr Jong-Wha Park, Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea
Dr George Sabra, Reformed Church/Lebanon
Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church/Jerusalem


Mr Andrei Elisseev, Russian Orthodox Church
H.E. Metropolitan Gennadios Limouris of Sassima, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Archimandrite Benedict Ioannou, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

Posted: Dec. 3, 1999 • Permanent link:
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