(30 Jan 09 – RV) Pope Benedict met today with members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. We have this report.
Pope Benedict on Friday met members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Oriental Orthdox Churches only accept the first three councils of Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus. They are currently not in communion with neither the Catholic nor the Orthdox Churches. The Oriental Orthodox family of Churches includes the Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian, Syriac Orthodox, and Malankara Syrian Orthodox Churches.
The began their current dialogue with the Catholic Church goes back 6 years. Pope Benedict spoke to the members of the Commission on the importance of unity in the Church.
â€œThe world needs a visible sign of the mystery of unity that binds the three divine Persons and, that two thousand years ago, with the Incarnation of the Son of God, was revealed to us. The tangibility of the Gospel message is conveyed perfectly by John, when he declares his intention to express what he has heard and his eyes have seen and his hands have touched, so that all may have fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Jn 1:1-4). Our communion through the grace of the Holy Spirit in the life that unites the Father and the Son has a perceptible dimension within the Church, the Body of Christ, â€œthe fullness of him who fills all in allâ€ (Eph 1:23), and we all have a duty to work for the manifestation of that essential dimension of the Church to the world.
Your sixth meeting has taken important steps precisely in the study of the Church as communion. The very fact that the dialogue has continued over time and is hosted each year by one of the several Churches you represent is itself a sign of hope and encouragement. We need only cast our minds to the Middle East – from where many of you come – to see that true seeds of hope are urgently needed in a world wounded by the tragedy of division, conflict and immense human suffering.â€