Egypt: encounter between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox churches

Source: FSSPX News


An initial encounter between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox churches centered on theological dialog was held in Cairo from January 27 through 30 2004. According to a communiqué published on February 4 by the Holy See and co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox church, this meeting had as its goal a review of thirty years of dialog and an advance toward ecclesial communion.

Across from the representatives of the Catholic Church – fifteen people led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity – were representatives of the Coptic Orthodox church, of the Syrian Orthodox church, of the Armenian Apostolic church (of Cilicia and Armenia) and of the Orthodox church of Eritrea. Indian representatives of the Syro-Malankar church could not get to Cairo due to visa trouble. And the Ethiopian Orthodox church did not send any representatives.

During the course of this encounter, pope Shenouda III, Coptic Orthodox, came to greet the assembly and wish them “success in this dialog”. And Cardinal Kasper presented identical greetings on behalf of John-Paul II.

This first encounter is considered an important step in the ecumenical dialog between the Oriental Orthodox churches and the Catholic Church. It has enable the examination of numerous studies and activities which have sprung up over the last thirty years”, read the communiqué.

The participants established a working program for the next meeting, which will be held from 25 through 30 January 2005, in Rome if Greek Orthodox Churches accept the proposition of the Catholics. The reflection of the representatives will deal with “the Church as communion”, on the ecclesial and canonical implications of this communion, and on the possible degrees of communion between Churches. All undertook to draft studies on these subjects, which will be used as point of departure in the discussions.