International Commission for Anglican–Orthodox Theological Dialogue meeting in Ireland

The International Commission for Anglican–Orthodox Theological Dialogue is actually meeting in Armagh (Ireland) until Thursday 29th September 2016. As part of their meeting, members of the Commission yesterday worshipped on Sunday 25th September 2016 at a Service of Holy Communion in St Mark’s Parish Church, Ballymore (Tandragee), and at Festal Evensong in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. The Evensong was followed by a reception in the Alexander Synod Hall, Armagh.

The Commission is actually co–chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, and acting Co–Chair, Archbishop Seraphim of Zimbabwe (Patriarchate of Alexandria), in replacement of Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia who was not able to attend the meeting for health reasons.

The Anglican – Orthodox dialogue began in 1973, when the Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Discussions held its first meeting in Oxford. The first phase of the dialogue was concluded by the publication of The Moscow Agreed Statement in 1976. The publication of The Dublin Agreed Statement in 1984 brought its second phase to a conclusion. Both statements record a measure of agreement on a range of specific topics, while acknowledging continuing divergence on others.

The third phase of the dialogue began in 1989, when the commission was re-constituted as The International Commission for Anglican – Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) under the chairmanship of Metropolitan John of Pergamon and Bishop Henry Hill (succeeded in 1990 by Bishop Mark Dyer) and drawing together senior clergy and theologians from across the Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Communion. Its task has been to consider the doctrine of the Church in the light of the doctrine of the Trinity, and to examine the doctrine of the ordained ministry of the Church. Particular attention has been given to the question of who may be ordained to the presbyterate and episcopate. This third phase of the dialogue has given further consideration to ecclesiological issues discussed in earlier phases, and to aspects of Trinitarian doctrine. The fourth phase began in Crete in 2009, and has met in 2010 in Oxford, 2011 in Albania, 2012 in Chester, 2013 in Serbia, and 2014 in Jerusalem. The subject is Theological Anthropology.

The International Commission for Anglican–Orthodox Theological Dialogue began its fourth phase in 2009, under the co-chairmanship of Archbishop Roger Herft and Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia. In September 2015 the Commission completed this, its first Agreed Statement, In the Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology. The product of six years of study and dialogue, the text celebrates what Anglicans and Orthodox can say together about the human person, created in ‘the Image and Likeness of God’.

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