The meeting of the 14th plenary session of Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church is taking place in Chieti (Italy) from September 15 to 22, 2016. It gathers two representatives from each of the fourteen Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, alongside 28 Catholic participants. All the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches are present, with the exception of the Holy Church of Bulgaria. The meeting is chaired by its two co-presidents: Cardinal Kurt Koch from the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and Archbishop Job of Telmessos from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in replacement of Metropolitan John of Pergamon who has retired from the dialogue.
The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church exists since 1980. The previous plenary meeting took place in Amman in 2014. The actual meeting focuses its discussion on a draft document, drawn up at the previous two sessions, entitled “Towards a common understanding of Synodality and Primacy in service to the Unity of the Church”, prepared at a meeting in Rome in 2015.
During the plenary session, participants also shared moments of prayer together with local Christian communities. On Saturday, September 17, a Roman Catholic Mass was celebrated in the cathedral of San Giustino in Chieti, presided by Cardinal Kurt Koch who preached. On Sunday, September 18, an Orthodox Divine Liturgy was served at the shrine of the Holy Face in Manoppell, presided by Archbishop Job of Telmessos who delivered the homily.