The International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church is to meet in plenary session from 15 to 22 September in Chieti, Italy, hosted by the archdiocese of Chieti-Vasto and the Italian Episcopal Conference. The session will be chaired by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, and by the archbishop of Telmessos Job (Getcha) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
It will also be attended, as on previous occasions in similar circumstances, by two representatives of each of the fourteen autocephalous Orthodox Churches and an equal number of Catholic representatives.
The plenary session will be dedicated to the examination of a draft document entitled “Towards a common understanding of Synodality and Primacy in service to the Unity of the Church,” drawn up during the previous plenary session of the Commission held in Amman, Jordan, in 2014, and was completed by the Commission’s coordinating Committee during the meeting in Rome in 2015.
In Chieti, the members of the Commission are required to evaluate whether this draft adequately reflects the currently existing consensus on the delicate question of the theological and ecclesiological relationship between primacy and synodality in the life of the Church or if it will be necessary to explore the theme further.
The plenary session will also offer the participants the opportunity to share moments of prayer with the local Christian communities. On Saturday 17 September, the members of the Commission will be present at Mass to be celebrated in the Cathedral of San Giustino in Chieti; on Sunday 18 September they will participate in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Shrine of the Holy Face at Manoppello, Chieti. Finally, the Commission is expected to visit the city of Vasto and the Abbey of St. John in Venus at Fossacesia.