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An Outline of the Theological Dialogue Between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church

The Official International Joint Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church was established in 1980.  Since its founding, there have been twelve plenary sessions.

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation has been meeting biannually since its establishment in 1965 under the auspices of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The members of the national bilateral dialogue commissions are sanctioned by the hierarchs of the two churches to examine theological issues, and to make recommendations regarding ways to overcome divisive issues. As such, the agreed statements are issued on the authority of the dialogue commission itself, and do not bind the authorities of either church.

 

1963 -- Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras declares the Orthodox intention of a serious dialogue at the second Pan-Orthodox Conference of Rhodes.

 

1964 – Pope Paul VI and Athenagoras meet in Jerusalem.

 

1964 – In Rome, the document "Unitatis Redintegratio" was created, in which the Roman Catholic Church reaffirmed its commitment to the ecumenical dialogue.

 

1965 -- The mutual "anathemas" were lifted.

 

1967 -- Athenagoras I and Paul VI publicly declared the intention of a "dialogue of charity" between the two churches, and a parallel "dialogue of truth" as well.

 

1969 – The North American Consultation issues statement: "An Agreed Statement on the Holy Eucharist"

 

1971 – The North American Consultation issues statement: "An Agreed Statement on Mixed Marriage"

 

1974 – The North American Consultation issues statements: "An Agreed Statement on the Respect for Life"  and  "An Agreed Statement on the Church"

 

1976 – The North American Consultation issues statements: "The Pastoral Office: A Joint Statement" and  "The Principle of Economy: A Joint Statement"

 

1978 – The North American Consultation issues statement:  "An Agreed Statement on the Sanctity of Marriage"

 

1979 – Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrius I announce the opening of the theological dialogue between the two churches.

 

1980 -- The first plenary session of the International Joint Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church met the following spring at the island of Patmos, Greece. The first theme chosen for study was ecclesiology and its link to the mysteries of the Eucharist and the Trinity.

 

1980 – The North American Consultation issues statement: "Joint Recommendations on the Spiritual Formation of Children of Marriages between Orthodox and Roman Catholics"

 

1982 -- The Joint Commission published its first official common document: "The Mystery of the Church and of the Eucharist in Light of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity" (Munich, Germany)

 

1987 – The next Joint  Commission issued the common document : "Faith, Sacraments and the Unity of the Church" (Bari, Italy)

 

1988 – The third common document is produced: "The Sacrament of Order in the Sacramental Structure of the Church" (Valamo, Finland)

 

1989 – The North American Consultation issues statement: "An Agreed Statement on Conciliarity and Primacy in the Church"

 

1990 -- Work began by the Joint Coordinating Committee on the next common document in Moscow, Russia, "Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church", but at the request of the Orthodox Church the discussions were stopped in order to address the question of "Uniatism".

 

1993 – The Joint Commission issued the common document on "Uniatism: Method of Union of the Past, and Present. Search for Full Communion" (Balamand, Lebanon)

 

1999 – The North American Consultation issues statement: "Baptism and ‘Sacramental Economy'"

 

2000 – The Joint Commission met in Baltimore, U.S.A., and discussed a text on " The Ecclesiological and Canonical Implications of Uniatism".

 

2000 – The North American Consultation issues statement:  "Sharing the Ministry of Reconciliation"

 

2003 – The North American Consultation issues statement:  "The Filioque: A Church-Dividing Issue?"

 

2005 - The Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church agree to resume the theological dialogue.

 

2006 – The Joint Commission met in Belgrade, Serbia and discussed a text entitled: "The Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church: Conciliarity and Authority in the Church", at three levels of the Church's life: local, regional and universal.

 

2007 – At the 10th Plenary Session in Ravenna, Italy, the Joint Commission discussed the sacramental nature of the Church and reviewed the relationship between a primate and a synod. Produced the "Ravenna Document"

 

2009 – At the 11th Plenary Session in Paphos, Cyprus, the Joint Commission discussed "The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium."

 

2010 – At the 12th Plenary Session in Vienna, Austria, the Joint Commission continued its discussion on "The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium."

 

2010 – The North American Consultation issues statements:  "Celebrating Easter/Pascha Together" and "Steps Towards a Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future"

 

2012 – The North American Consultation issues statement: "The Importance of Sunday"