VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2006 (Zenit.org).- At its third meeting an international commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches studied three key topics linked to the idea of ecclesial communion.
The meeting, of the Mixed International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, ended on Monday in Etchmiadzin, Armenia. The panel aims to help overcome a 1,500-year schism.
Invited by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, the meeting was attended by two delegations headed, respectively, by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Metropolitan Amba Bishoy of the Orthodox Coptic Church.
A Holy See communiqué said that participants in the meeting analyzed “three topics of study and dialogue related to the central subject of the Church as communion.”
The three topics were: “bishops in the apostolic succession, the relationship between primacy and synods/collegiality, and the functioning and ecclesiological importance of synods at the local and ecumenical level.”
Two expositions were presented on each of these topics, one Catholic, the other Orthodox.
The Ancient Churches of the East (also called Orthodox) separated both from Rome as well as from the Byzantine Orthodox Churches at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
Remaining outside the influence of the Roman Empire, they developed their own traditions in theological and ecclesiastical aspects.
In the meeting, the Catholic and Orthodox delegations had 14 members each. Established in 2003, the commission met in Cairo, Egypt, in 2004, and in Rome last year.