Lutheran-Orthodox statement on Eucharist

 — Dec. 12, 200612 déc. 2006

[LWI] The participants of the 13th Plenary of the international Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission have affirmed recognition of the “broad areas of agreement” in their respective traditions with a view to the understanding of the Eucharist in the life of the church. They adopted a Common Statement titled, “The Mystery of the Church: The Holy Eucharist in the Life of the Church.”

In a communiqué from the 2-9 November meeting of the Joint Commission in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, members of the international dialogue group stated that the “Orthodox and Lutherans both confess that Christ’s body and blood are united with bread and wine, to be consumed by communicants, uniting them with Christ and with each other.”

In the communiqué, the church representatives responsible for the theological dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) noted that they explored “the two traditions’ differing, but often converging reflections on the mystery of how the sacramental union takes place and on the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist.” They underscored the Eucharist’s eschatological dimension and stressed its significance for ecology and social action.

The Joint Commission reiterated its strong affirmation of the continuation of the international dialogue between the Orthodox and Lutherans, pointing out that there was a genuine growth in mutual ecumenical understanding and appreciation. Official conversations between Lutherans and Orthodox at international level began in 1981 in Espoo, Finland, after three years of preparatory meetings.

On 4 November, the participants in the recent plenary session commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Joint Commission with a celebration at the Theological Faculty of the Comenius University in Bratislava, in the presence of local church leaders and ecumenical guests.

In his greeting to the commission members, LWF General Secretary, Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko said the sequence of the Common Statements from the dialogue were an indication that the official Orthodox and Lutheran representatives at the world level “have been able to travel together a journey of theological investigation considering the broad, fundamental subjects pertaining to the understanding of salvation and the church.”

He noted that “the road is open for further, and even more specific discussions” in order for the two Christian traditions to move more concretely toward the commonly-desired real and visible forms of ecclesial communion. His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I noted in his official greeting that the Joint Commission had already completed 25 years of fruitful and constructive cooperation. “We give thanks to God for this, and we pray that you may continue progressing, overcoming the known difficulties, and reach decisions which advance the theological discussions and lead us closer to each other as it is the expressed will of the Lord and Savior of all,” he said.

The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Slovak Republic hosted the Joint Commission’s meeting on behalf of the LWF. The international dialogue group is co-chaired by co-presidents, Metropolitan Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima (The Ecumenical Patriarchate) and Bishop Donald J. McCoid (LWF) from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Commission agreed to extend its reflection on “The Holy Eucharist in the Life of the Church” with a focus on the topics, “Preparation and Celebration of the Eucharist” and “Eucharist and Ecology” (including Human Society). The next meeting of the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission is scheduled for early June 2008.

(576 words)

The documents listed below can be downloaded from the LWF Web site in PDF version:
• Communiqué of the 13th Plenary of the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission
• Common Statement on “The Mystery of the Church: D. The Holy Eucharist in the Life of the Church,”
• Greeting from LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko
• Patriarchal Greetings from His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

Posted: Dec. 12, 2006 • Permanent link:
Categories: Communiqué, Dialogue, DocumentsIn this article: ecclesiology, eucharist, Lutheran, Orthodox
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Catégorie : Communiqué, Dialogue, DocumentsDans cet article : ecclesiology, eucharist, Lutheran, Orthodox

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