Skip to comments.Vatican Synod of Bishops - 11OCT05 - Presentations by Orthodox Representatives
Posted on 10/12/2005 10:02:49 AM PDT by NYer
Below are the summaries of the interventions:
- H.E. JOHANNIS (Zizioulas), Metropolitan of Pergamo; President emeritus of the Academy of Athens (GREECE)
It is a great honour for me to be given the opportunity to address this venerable episcopal Synod and bring to it the fraternal greetings and best wishes of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Church of Constantinople. The invitation to our Church to send a fraternal delegate to this Synod is a gesture of great ecumenical significance. We respond to it with gratitude and love.
We Orthodox are deeply gratified by the fact that your Synod, too, regards the Eucharist as the source and summit of the life and mission of the Church. It is extremely important that Roman Catholics and Orthodox can say this with one voice. There may still be things that separate our two Churches but we both believe that the Eucharist is the heart of the Church. It is on this basis that we can continue the official theological dialogue of our two Churches, which is now entering a new phase. Eucharistic ecclesiology can guide us in our efforts to overcome a thousand years of separation. For it is a pity to hold the same conviction of the importance of the Eucharist but not be able to share it at the same Table.
The ecclesiology of communion promoted by Vatican II and deepened further by eminent Roman Catholic theologians can make sense only if it derives fro the eucharistic life of the Church. The Eucharist belongs not simply to the bene esse but to the esse of the Church. The whole life, word and structure of the Church is eucharistic in its very essence.
[00291-02.03] [DF009] [Original text: English]
- Rev. Ieromonaco Filippo VASYLTSEV, Patriarcate of Moscow (RUSSIA)
Today I have the great honour of talking before the most high presences and of representing the Russian Orthodox Church of the Patriarchate of Moscow. The theme of the Synod of the Roman Catholic Church is close and current also in our Church. The Eucharist is the central point and is very important in the life of the Church and for every Christian person. For this reason, the weakening of the Eucharistic awareness leads to the demolition of ecclesiastic awareness, shifting the emphasis and errors in the understanding of Christian values.
His Eminence the Metropolitan Cirillo in his preaches on more than one occasion spoke of the fact that we, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, are bearers of the same paradigm of spiritual values and from this point of view the spiritual experience of each other may appear mutually precious and important.
We would be very pleased if our experience of Eucharistic life both the historical one and the current one will be useful and will help the Roman Catholic Church.
The rebirth of the Church in modern Russia is a well known fact to everybody. This fact concerns all aspects of the life of the Church. However, the event which gives most joy is represented by the rebirth of the Eucharistic awareness, which underwent serious changes in recent years.
If in the mid 19th century Saint Metropolita Filret of Moscow wrote in his brief catechism: Whoever wishes devout Christian life must take communion four times a year. (According to the quantity of the main fastings: Lent, fasting before the Nativity of Christ, fasting before Dormition, and fasting before the feast of the Apostles St Peter and St. Paul). In compliance with the conditions of our days, to take communion at least once a month has become part of Christian practice. Obviously this practice began during the period of persecutions. Saint Serafimus Zvezdinsky, Auxiliary Bishop of Moscow, wrote in the 1920s that the life of a Christian should be such to always be ready for communion. The practice of frequent communion in the period after the war existed in monasteries and was stimulated by famous confessors, such as Archmadrite Tavrion Batossky and others.
With this, one must not forget that in the Russian Orthodox Church preparation for communion includes, in addition to inner preparation, also The Rule (strict fasting for three days, the visit to Church in these three days, prayers for communion, special Eucharistic fasting after midnight) and confession is also compulsory. On the other hand, these strict rules are seen by the Church not as an obligation, but as an average measure which was formed historically according to the traditions to apply it to themselves. As the experience of confessor priests demonstrates, one should lead those who seldom take communion and attend church to carry out this Rule, and through it reawaken, reach their soul, because for many non practicing Christians the way of the church passes through the exterior, and it appears to them in the hymns and in the rites, whereas true people of the church live more for inner life.
Undoubtedly, this general approach towards exterior rules cannot and must not be understood in an absolute sense. In this sense, confessors can influence a great deal on the Eucharistic life of the Church, because they have the possibility to indicate the direction basing on the concrete situation of each person, taking into consideration modern tradition of the church.
Therefore, we can say that ecclesiastic awareness runs the way of seeking rules, basing on old traditions. The first number eighty of the Sixth (of Trull) Ecumenical Council says If a person does not take communion on three consecutive Sundays, in this way he or she separates himself or herself from the Church.
To conclude, I wish to thank again Your Holiness, the Most Reverend members of the Synod of the roman Catholic Church for the possibility given to me to participate with you in the meetings of the Open Synod, dedicated to the Sacrament of the Eucharist and for having spoken these words on the Orthodox Eucharistic experience.
[00295-02.04] [DFO11] [Original text: Italian]
- H.E. (Marsilianul) SILUAN, Bishop assistant of the Metropolitan See of Western Europe of the Romenian Ortodox Churche (ROMANIA)
The topic of the Eucharist is central equally in the Tradition of the Orthodox Church. The preoccupation of the Catholic Church joins that of our Church on many points, in particular the following:
1. The particular preoccupation for a mystagogic catechesis which allows the faithful to deepen the real-life experience of the Divine Liturgy.
2. The preparation in view of the communion with the Body and Blood of Christ. The place of confession and the role of fasting before communion etc...
The benefits which result from this are the more significant, as much from personal level as from the ecclesial level:
1. The realizing of the importance of communion in ones own life, putting in evidence, in the first place, the division between the other Christians, engenders an authentically evangelic suffering which goes hand in hand with the desire of unity wished by Christ Himself.
2. The birth of a community awareness rooted in the communion with the very bread and the very Cup, which replaces that of individual egocentric piety; of a truly Eucharistic mentality and not just self contentment.
3. The centrality of the Eucharist gives the true sense of priesthood and therefore the episcopate, by the anchoring from on high, opening the perspective up to a charismatic authority who with difficulty shows through administrative structures. It reinforces the sacramental relationship within the hierarchy, making of the bishop not only the president of the Eucharistic assembly but also the spiritual father of the community.
4. The authentic real-life experience of the Eucharist can and should bear witness to the great importance and necessity for present day society, in what concerns the guidance of life towards the reality of on high, towards the Kingdom of Heaven which is not of this world(Cf. Jn 18:36).
[00294-02.03] [DF010] [Original text: French]
- Rev. Sotiriadis IGNATIOS, Representative of the Church of Greece to the European Union
The Church of Greece cordially greets this XI Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church, the first one after the enthronement of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Every opportunity of synodal expression of the Church is a blessing and source of joy for the members of the body of Christ. Participating in this joy as a fraternal delegate of the Church of Greece, I express my wishes that this will bring excellent results and bring fruit both for the faithful of the Catholic Church and for the dialogue of love among Christians.
The Synod topic is important for the life of the Church diachronically, but especially now that theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox resume s emphasizing the question of the Church and the role of the bishop. Theological valorization of the Divine Eucharist is strictly linked to lived experience and with faith in relation to the mystery of the Church and the special diaconate of the bishop. The summit of the manifestation of the unity in the body of Christ is the participation of the faithful in the Divine Eucharist, which the bishop celebrates as a service for the glory of Christ and for his undividable and unmistakable manifestation in the world as Redeemer. This service is the responsibility that each Christian must contribute to, from the position he holds according to Divine benevolence, so that this may be realized in the most complete way possible. Our prayer, at this moment, is that we all reach an understanding of this responsibility with the fullness that ensures the grace of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit of Truth directs the work of this important Synod, so that the life of every faithful in the Church may be graced by our Lord Jesus Christ, an indestructible power (Heb 7:16), sincere faith (2 Tim 1:5), a hope that will not let us down (Rom 5:5) and perfect in love (cf. Jn 4:18).
[00281-02.03] [DF008] [Original text: Italian]
- H.E. Amba BARNABA, Bishop of the Coptic Ortodox Churche in Rome (ITALY)
I first of all wish to address a warm greeting to you all, grateful of the opportunity to get to know others on this occasion: I am Monsignor Barnaba El Soryany - Bishop General of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Italy- and I have the honour of participating in this Synod as representative of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria in Egypt.
The theme of the Eucharist, tackled during this meeting, represents for all the Christian faithful an essential element of life; in particular the Coptic faithful express their own profession of faith in the Eucharist, in the real presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, during Holy Mass and proclaim their religiosity considering the Eucharist as the centre of spiritual life, expression of the kingdom of God and source of eternal salvation. It is considered by the Coptic Orthodox Church the Sacrament of Sacraments, and, as such, as nourishment of divine life; it is also given to children on the day of baptism.
Damages caused by the contemporary world, the ugly scenes we see every day, can only push us more and more to seek in the Communion of Christ a source of salvation and hope for a better world. One cannot omit that already today this sacrament represents an emblem of faith in Christ the Saviour who unites and distinguishes all the Christian communities. And every day even more so, overwhelmed by thousands of dangers and problems of various nature, whereby one feels the need to get closer to Communion to find in it new nourishment and new strength which allow us to tackled with serenity the snares of daily life.
With the wish that this Sacrament may act as a propeller towards the common path towards unity of all Christians, I hope and wish to all the Synodal Fathers gathered here fruitful work for the coming days and the accomplishment of right and valid results for the future of the Church.
[00278-02.02] [DF005] [Original text: Italian]
-H.E. Mor SEVERIUS MALKE MOURAD, Syro-Ortodox Patriarchate (SYRIA)
In our Syrian Orthodox Church, we celebrate the Divine Liturgy in SyriacAramaic, the language of our Lord Jesus; and during the Divine Liturgy, the very same words which Jesus said in the Upper Room are recited. And the priest who celebrates this sacrament, has to celebrate it alone. I feel proud that I live in the Monastery of St. Mark in the Old City - Jerusalem, where Jesus had His Last Supper.
H.H. Patriarch Ignatius Zakka II was on the Holy Eucharist has relied in his published text on the teachings of St. Afremm, Yacoub of Sarug and Bar Hebreaus:
According to the dogma of our Church the consecration of the two elements of bread and wine and their transubstantiation into the Body and Blood of Christ during the Holy Eucharist are taking place and fulfilled by the prayer of invocation of the Holy Spirit and not just by the words of our Lord which the celebrant Priest recites in a manner of recalling His declaration and which he has to say in awe, fear of God and with trembling, while meditating on its meaning and on the great sacrifice which our Lord Jesus offered where He sacrificed Himself on the Cross and redeemed humanity. And the Holy Spirit is the one who is consecrating all the sacraments of the Church and also sanctifying the churches and altars. The substance of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is bread and wine where the bread is leavened bread made of wheat which is called Lahmo in the (Syriac) Bible; and we do not offer unleavened bread. We also offer matured red wine which is made of the fruit of the vine mixed with water. It is also not permitted that they be content to receive only the Holy Bread. For a long time our Church has practiced dipping the Body in the Blood and giving it to the faithful, and by this, they receive the Body and Blood together.
The presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is not only His Bodily Presence, but in all His fullness in humanity and Divinity. So Lord Jesus is present in all parts of the two elements. Before the believer comes forth to receive the Holy Communion, he should observe the sacrament of Penance, with individual confession. Recently our Church permitted the faithful to have collective confession.
St. Paul the Apostle exhorts the believer to spiritually prepare himself before he comes to receive the Holy Communion with faith, reverence and a pure conscience, and should cleanse his body and observe the precommunion fast at 12 midnight. We used to give the sacraments of the Holy Communion to the children immediately after they receive the sacraments of Holy Baptism, Chrism.
We have to mention about the Common Declaration which was signed by H.H. Pope John Paul II of blessed memory and H.H. Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka II was on 1984, in which they decided in paragraph 9: We authorize [our faithful] to ask for the Sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick from lawful priests of either of our two sister Churches (the Roman Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church), when they need them.
[00274-02.03] [DF001] [Original text: English]
- H.E. Norvan ZAKARIAN, Armenian Bishop of Lyon (FRANCE)
I have the pleasure of passing on to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and all of you gathered here, the warm and fraternal greetings of His Holiness the Catholicos Karékine II who wishes a fruitful outcome to this XI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Before entering in agony, before being arrested as a common criminal and dying on the cross, Jesus institutes the Eucharist, this sacramental meal which, by means of visible signs, communicates to us the love of God in Jesus Christ, the love with which Jesus loved those who were His to the end (Jn 13:1) The Eucharist is the sacrament of the unique sacrifice of Christ, ever living to intercede in our favour, remembrance of all that God has done for the salvation of the world. The celebrant invokes God so that He should send His Spirit on the bread (three times), then on the wine (three times), finally on the two species (three times). The consecration, the Eucharist, encompasses also the people of God, that is to say His church. As regards communion, the priest dips the host in the wine; then, on his knees on the rostrum of the altar, he breaks the host into little pieces having the form of a grain of corn and gives the communion directly in the mouth of the faithful, who are standing, facing the altar. Throughout the celebration, the prayers are addressed to the Father, to the Son and to the Spirit who is source of life. The Eucharistic liturgy is for the believer a true catechesis. This long prayer sung by the celebrant, the deacons, the choir takes place on Sundays and at the time of important feasts. It fully nourishes the faithful. Once the ceremony is finished, the latter is sent on a mission as Jesus shed His blood for the multitude. We must then bear witness to all that we have received: peace, love, joy. Our liturgy has undergone very few modifications in the course of the centuries and we take no liberty with respect to the rite. The texts, the gestures are the same in all the churches of Armenia and of the Diaspora. Armenians scattered therefore come together to celebrate the Eucharist in a community gathering.
[00275-02.03] [DF002] [Original text: French]
- H.E. NAREG (Manoug) ALEMEZIAN, Bishop; Ecumenical Officer of the Great House of Cilicia (ARMENIA)
After conveying the greetings of the Head of his Church, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, Bishop Alemezian shared a historical eucharistic experience stemming out of a heroic event occurred in 451, and underlined his expectation of the study of eucharistic ecclesiology by the global Christianity in reminding the 1967 visit of Catholicos Khoren I to Pope Paul VI motivated by the spirit of 1 Corinthians 10.16.
The Armenian word used to designate the Holy Eucharist is Surp Patarag, which means Holy Sacrifice. In the liturgical life of the Church we are at Gods service (liturgy) and offer sacrifice of thanksgiving (eucharist) for gifts received from Him.
Holy Eucharist is centered on the sacrificial giving of our Savior and generating a communion of love with God and our fellow beings by the power of the Holy Spirit. And as such it plays a significant role in the diffusion of the Christian faith as the continuation of the incarnational presence of our crucified and risen Lord for the transformation of our lives today and in the Kingdom of Heaven.
This reality is sustained by the Armenian experience of martyria in obedience to carrying the cross to the very point of ultimate self denial (Matthew 16.24) for the graceful obtainment of the crown of righteousness (cf. 2 Timothy 2.4.7-8) and the manifestation of the life of Jesus in our body (cf. 2 Corinthians 4.6-11).
In 451, during a heroic uprising to protect their Christian faith and human dignity, Armenians participated in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice, received the precious body and blood of the Lamb of God and proclaimed, We acknowledge the Holy Bible as our Father and the Universal Church as our Mother.
In assessing the constructive role of bilateral and multilateral ecumenical dialogues in discussing the theme Church as Communion, I encourage all of us to engage in the study of eucharistic ecclesiology, which situates the unity of the Church in the local celebration of the Holy Eucharist presided over by the bishop in communion with his brother bishops.
In this respect, the distinctive role of the bishop is underlined as the one who takes care of the flock entrusted to him by the Good Shepherd (John 10.11), tending it with love most fully revealed in the eucharistic partaking of the one bread (I Corinthians 10.17) for a spiritual and universal communion in the mystical body of Christ (I Corinthians 12.27).
[00277-02.04] [DF004] [Original text: English]
- H.E. Abuna SAMUEL, Archbishop of the Ortodox Churche of Ethiopia (ETHIOPIA)
I would like to present greetings to all of you from His Holiness Abune Paulos, Patriarch of Ethiopia, Archbishop of Axum and Echege of the Holy See of St. Teklehaimanot. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. I am very glad to present some of the traditions of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church regarding the Holy Eucharist. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, following the Lord's commandment "drink of it all of you", is giving both the consecrated bread and wine to all communicants. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church does not mix the Body and the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, except in life emergencies such as terminal sickness. The Body and the Blood are given separately, as our Lord Jesus Christ ordered us to do. In the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition a strict Eucharistic fast is observed. The celebrants, concelebrants, priests, deacons and all communicants have to fast at least nine hours before receiving Holy Eucharist and they have to ask forgiveness for what they did wrong. Deacons are not allowed to distribute the Holy Eucharist but they give the blood with cross-spoons. Laymen cannot receive the Eucharist bread with their hands, therefore the priest offers communion in their mouth. In the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition a priest cannot celebrate Holy Eucharist several times a day, he can celebrate only once a day. But two or three or more than three priests can celebrate at the same time on different altars or even on one altar, reciting all prayers together. This is done on Christmas, Easter and on the feast day of Holy Mary, the Mother of God. All communicants, men and women, and also children come to the table in white robes to the glory of the Eucharist. This tradition indicates the two angels in white robes sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying (In 20: 12). All faithful of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church are grateful to the Lord Jesus for having given to the Church such a wonderful sacrament.
[00276-02.04] [DF003] [Original text: English]
- H.E. Most. Rev. Basil Myron SCHOTT, O.F.M., Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburg of Byzantines, President of the Council of the Ruthene Church (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
I would like to reflect on three areas, shadows, ecumenism and the ministry of priests covered by numbers 23 and 86.
From an Eastern perspective, the path to the light is through and out of the darkness or shadows. However, there will always be shadows until Christ comes again. This is part of the human condition. From our part, we must have the courage to look at the shadows and thereby bring the light of Christ therein. In fact this is happening in the Eastern Churches in the United States as they continue the process of authentic renewal of the liturgical practices as set forth and encouraged in the Instructions given by Pope John Paul II. The elimination of liturgical practices or shadows that are not authenic to the liturgical theology and tradition of the Eastern Churches, the reinstitution of the Tryptyk of Initiation: Baptism, Chrismation and the Eucharist - the development of catechetical series such as the God with Us Series for those of the Byzantine Tradition and the initiation of a series for those of the Syro-antiochian Tradition.
There exists in the United States, 17 eparchies of the Byzantine, Antiochian, Chaldean and Annenian traditions. Four of the Byzantine Ruthenian, four of the Byzantine Ukrainian, one of the Byzantine Melkite, one of the Byzantine Romanian, two of the Maronite, two of the Chaldean, one of the Syrian, one of the Syro-Malabar, one of the Annenian each with their own hierarchy and eparchial structures. There are also faithful and priests of the Syro - Malankar, Ethiopian and Coptic Catholic Churches without their own hierarcy. There also exists eparchies of our brothers of the Orthodox Churches of the same traditions. This is a unique ecclesial situation in the world and it has its blessings. This allows us the fertile ground for a unique ecumenical dialogue both formally and informally with our brothers and sisters of the Orthodox Churches. Practically speaking we often pray together even attending the Eucharistic Celebration of each other. However, the pain remains of not being able to partake of the Eucharist in these celebrations.
Finally, I wish to speak of the clergy. This seems to be lacking in the Instrumentum Laboris. They are the persons through whom the Eucharist is brought to the people of God. It is important to be supportive, affirming and appreciative of all priests in the world and from my perspective the priests of the United States. The lack of vocations is a critical problem as well as the adequate inculturation of the those clergy from the lands of origin of their respective Eastern Churches. What is needed for our clergy, whether married or celibate, is to live an authentic holy life. They need to be the models of the gospel lived in their respective eastern traditions. They need to have a strong bibilical and theological formation in the theologies of Eastern Fathers, and fmally, since the Eucharist is the center of our lives, they need to be people of prayer in the true traditions of the East.
The other thing that comes to mind is that these statements on the Holy Eucharist from these different Christian communities on this thread would never have happened in one place because some of these Churches don't talk to each other. It made me appreciate even more Pope John Paul II creating the Year of the Eucharist and planning this Synod for the end of the Year. We hear from those who are near and some a bit more far off of their Eucharistic faith, and it makes some within the Catholic house look downright liberal mainline Protestant.
I'm so delighted to read these statements.
Bless you for taking the time to read through the Orthodox commentary and develop your own impressions. You have probably noted, as I did, that the majority of Roman Catholics, all on my ping list, have skipped these commentaries. Perhaps it is a question of pride. You and your mother have a fuller appreciation of the connection between East and West. It is resolvable; perhaps not at this time.
We hear from those who are near and some a bit more far off of their Eucharistic faith, and it makes some within the Catholic house look downright liberal mainline Protestant.
Precisely. As someone commented on a different thread, if 50 years ago, a Catholic had approached the priest to receive communion with their hands open while standing, no doubt they would have been perçeived as a protestant and given instruction in the proper reception of the Holy Eucharist.
NYer: Thanks for posting the reflections from the Orthodox attendees a the synod.
Like Kolokotronis, I've noticed the significant difference in emphasis between the comments from the Orthodox and eastern Catholic representatives at the synod on one hand, and the comments of those representatives from the western church on the other.
On other threads this week, there was some, for lack of a better term, exasperation with the idea of ecumenism between the Orthodox churches and the Catholic churches because of theological differences. I think that focusing the discussion strictly on theological issues (and more likely, theological differences)somewhat misses the point.
In my view, greater cooperation between the Orthodox and Catholic churches will happen because the practical advantages are so compelling. And perhaps that's a better tack to take than to debate the theological differences and to quote from ancient documents ad infinitum.
I think we also need to define what is meant by "communion." Do we mean more cooperation on issues of mutual concern? Do we mean shared Eucharistic celebration? Do we mean unification as one church on an institutional level? Because while certain expressions of unity may be rapidly attainable, I'd be very surprised to see other expressions of unity attained in my lifetime, if ever.
"On other threads this week, there was some, for lack of a better term, exasperation with the idea of ecumenism between the Orthodox churches and the Catholic churches because of theological differences. I think that focusing the discussion strictly on theological issues (and more likely, theological differences)somewhat misses the point."
Well, sometimes beating the same old dead horse can get exasperating! :) The outlining of theological differences however, and defining them as clearly as possible, allow us to come to a better understanding of where Latins, Eastern Rite Catholics and the Orthodox are coming from. In other words, understanding where and what the differences are can lead us to better understand the respective phronemas which determine the way we as Latins, Eastern Rite Catholics and Orthodox Christians respond to the world around us. We do respond differently.
"In my view, greater cooperation between the Orthodox and Catholic churches will happen because the practical advantages are so compelling."
In a societal/civilizational context that may well be true.
"And perhaps that's a better tack to take than to debate the theological differences and to quote from ancient documents ad infinitum."
Its clear that on a number of issues which divide us, the papacy springs to mind, the quoting of ancient declarations won't change any minds, so your point is well taken. But as I said there has been value to those "quote wars" because they do in fact demonstrate very different approaches to and understandings of the ultimate reality of our Faith.
"I think we also need to define what is meant by "communion." Do we mean more cooperation on issues of mutual concern?"
I don't think that's the way the Orthodox have been using the term.
" Do we mean shared Eucharistic celebration? Do we mean unification as one church on an institutional level?
Short of institutional unity, with the bishops of the particular Churches in communion with each other (and per force a shared Eucharistic celebration)all that would be left would be inter communion and that would have to be a matter of economia for the bishops of the Churches. For the Orthodox, economia is almost always a matter of personal, individual situations. Churchwide inter communion with non Orthodox would require at a minimum a consensus among the Orthodox Churches to do so and then Synodal approval in the Churches. We looked at this in the 1990s and found that we could not come to consensus so for now that's out. It seems to me that communion should mean full unity, with the bishops of the particular Churches "in communion" in a formal sense, with each other.
Cooperation on other issues is quite another matter. What issues do you see as areas of cooperation?
Thanks be to God for Pope John Paul the Great being inspired to arrange this Synod.
*What if it were 1950 years ago....:)
"For the Orthodox, economia is almost always a matter of personal, individual situations. Churchwide inter communion with non Orthodox would require at a minimum a consensus among the Orthodox Churches to do so and then Synodal approval in the Churches. We looked at this in the 1990s and found that we could not come to consensus so for now that's out. It seems to me that communion should mean full unity, with the bishops of the particular Churches "in communion" in a formal sense, with each other."
It seems to me, then, that an approach that might bear some fruit is individual Othodox churches coming into communion with individual Orthodox churches in situations where it makes sense. Sort of a variation on what the Melkites and the Orthodox churches (Antioch?) are doing in Lebanon. I see some potential between individual eastern Catholic churches and Orthodox churches. It's like the old saw about how you eat an elephant; one bite at a time.
Of course you'll run into the the same old arguments about uniatism, but for some of the churches it wouldn't really matter. How would unity between say the Ruthenians and the Coptic Orthodox present much of a threat to anyone? Both churches traditionally operate in different regions and using different languages.
"Cooperation on other issues is quite another matter. What issues do you see as areas of cooperation?"
This is the part where I'd challenge the Orthodox to start looking at the upside risk of cooperation as opposed to the downside. One significant potential benefit I see accruing to the Orthodox is access to greater numbers of Christians; an issue that will increase in importance in my view given the abysmal birthrates in certain predominantly Orthodox countries.
Given the hour, I can't wax poetic right now but I can and will list the opportunities I see in future threads/conversations.