The World Council of Churches (WCC) Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration met from 5-10 April 2019 at the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand in Lebanon. The Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration, a committee of the WCC Central Committee, was formed to continue the authority, mandate, concerns and dynamics of the Special Commission for Orthodox Participation in the WCC; give advice and make recommendations to governing bodies during and between assemblies; facilitate and improve participation of the Orthodox in the entire life and work of the WCC; offer counsel and provide opportunity for action in matters of common interest; and give attention to matters of ecclesiology.
His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, sent a message to those gathered, welcoming them to Balamand. “The World Council of Churches continues to be a platform for meeting, rapprochement, and cooperation between our churches at both the theological and practical facets of Christian witness,” wrote John X. “The Church of the East in Antioch has always opened Her doors to dialogue, to efforts for bridging gaps, and to initiatives of encounter with all of our Christian brothers and sisters all over the world.” John X reflected on the experience of a futile war that ravaged the Arab region. “Our people have witnessed in the recent years the awes of war, confusion and displacement, the tragedies of battles, destruction, abduction, killing, terror, and mutilation,” he wrote. “Mothers lamented their youngsters, children were orphaned, and women were captured and mistreated.” Pastoral undertakings and church work become draining in these circumstances, he said. “Only courage of faith may sustain the shepherds of the Church and give them perception and determination as to how to confront tragedy and adversity,” he wrote. “Your presence, brothers and sisters, today in our troubled region is a fine affirmation of Christian solidarity which our world is in dire need.”