Meeting of the Joint Preparatory Committee of Orthodox-Lutheran Theological Dialogue

In view of convening in 2017 the 17th Plenary Session of the official International Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the World Lutheran Federation, the Joint Preparatory Committee met on 7–13 December, 2016 on Cyprus to discuss subjects related to the biblical foundation of priesthood in the two Traditions; priesthood in the Ancient Church, the Ecumenical Councils and the Medieval Tradition; the relationship between the ordained ministry and priesthood of all the believers; and the episcopal function and the Apostolic succession.

The meeting was hosted in Nicosia by the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II under the hospices of the Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos and Orinis. It was chaired by the two co-presidents, Metropolitan Prof. Dr. Gennadios of Sassima and Bishop Dr. Christoph Klein.

The Orthodox participants were: Reverend Dr. George Dragas (Patriarchate of Jerusalem), Dr. Valentin Vassechko (Church of Russia), Reverend Georgi Zviadadze (Church of Georgia), Metropolitan Dr. Isaiah of Tamassos and Orinis (Church of Cyprus), Dr. Christos Voulgaris (Church of Greece), Mr. Nathan Hoppe (Church of Albania), Prof. Dr. Constantine Delikostantis (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Prof. Dr. Nikolaos Nikolaidis (Church of Cyprus), Mr. Stephen Chrysanthos (Church of Cyprus) and the Second Patriarchal Deacon Dr. Theodore Meimaris (Co-Secretary of the Orthodox-Lutheran Dialogue, Ecumenical Patriarchate).

The Lutheran Delegation was composed by: Prof. Dr. Kenneth G. Appold, (USA), Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Silcock (Australia), Dr. Jennifer Wasmuth (Germany), Heidi Zitting (Finland), Dr. Stephanie Dietrich (Norway) and Dr. Kaisamari Hintikka (Co-Secretary of the Orthodox-Lutheran Dialogue).

The Primate of the Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II received the participants at his see on Monday, 12 December, and hosted a luncheon. Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima thanked His Beatitude for the hospitality that the Apostolic Church of Cyprus offered once again as she often does for inter-Orthodox, inter-Christian and interreligious interest events.

The participants visited the headquarters of the Cultural Foundation “Archbishop Makarios III”, the Cathedral of St. John Chrysostom in Nicosia, the new buildings of the Metropolis of Tamassos and Orinis, the Monastery of St. Herakleidios, the tomb of St. Lazarus in Larnaca and the Archaeological Museum of Nicosia. They attended the liturgy at the Metochion of the Kykkos Monastery on Sunday, December 11th.

The plenary session of the Orthodox-Lutheran Dialogue in 2017, which will be hosted by the Lutheran side in Helsinki (Finland), will deal with the texts produced during the meetings of Rhodes (2015) and Nicosia (2016) on the subject of the Mystery of Priesthood. The plenary session will also commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation of Luther.

Besides the meeting, Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima and Deacon Theodore visited the Theological School of the Church of Cyprus. Metropolitan Gennadios gave a lecture on “The inter-Christian Dialogue” while Prof. Konstantinos Delikonstantis spoke about the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church.

We should note the return of the Orthodox Church of Georgia to the Orthodox-Lutheran Dialogue by sending a representative to this preparatory meeting. ✙