In the name of the Triune God, and with the blessing and guidance of our Churches, the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue met in Canterbury, England from 10 to 17 October 2019 to continue consideration of ecology and end-of-life issues. The meeting was hosted by The Very Revd Robert Willis, Dean of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Canterbury on behalf of the Anglican Communion. The Commission is deeply grateful to the Dean for his generous and warm hospitality.
As ever, the Commission’s work was undergirded by daily prayer and worship. The Commission attended the Sunday Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral, and the celebration of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy at the parish of the Archangel Michael, Margate, presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium, Co-Chairman of the Commission. On this occasion Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain (Ecumenical Patriarchate) made his first visit to the parish and greeted members of the Commission. The Archbishop generously hosted a lunch, provided by the parish community and Archimandrite Vissarion Kokliotis.
Visits were made to holy and historic sites, including a tour of St Augustine’s Abbey and the ancient church of St Martin, and to the Cathedral archives and library, and the Eastbridge Hospital. One of the highlights of the Commission’s meeting was a meditative candlelit walk of prayer led by the Dean around the Cathedral, including the site of the martyrdom of St Thomas Becket.
The Commission completed its work on issues surrounding the environment and ecology according to principles established in its agreed statement, In the Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology (Buffalo 2015). The text of a statement, entitled Stewards of Creation – A Hope-Filled Ecology, was finalised and will be prepared for publication as part of a projected series.
Further consideration was then given to the proposed statement on the end of human life, now provisionally entitled Good Dying: the Christian Approach to Life and Death. This work will continue at the Commission’s next meeting in October 2020 hosted by the Church of Greece.
Members of the Commission present at the meeting
The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke of Armagh, Anglican Co-Chairman
His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Orthodox Co-Chairman
Representatives of the Orthodox Church
His Eminence Metropolitan Serafim of Zimbabwe, Patriarchate of Alexandria
The Revd Fr Jonathan A. Hemmings, Patriarchate of Antioch
The Very Revd Professor Dr Protopresbyter George Dion Dragas, Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Professor Dr Bogdan Lubardic, Patriarchate of Serbia
His Eminence Metropolitan Nifon of Târgovişte, Patriarchate of Romania
The Very Revd Professor Dr Protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze, Patriarchate of Georgia
His Eminence Chrysostomos, former Metropolitan of Kition, Church of Cyprus
Emeritus Professor Dr Miltiadis Konstantinou, Church of Greece
Professor Nathan Hoppe, Church of Albania
The Very Revd Dr Protopresbyter Christos B Christakis, Ecumenical Patriarchate, Co-Secretary
Members unable to attend
The Revd Dr Valentin Vassechko, Patriarchate of Moscow
His Grace Bishop Ilia of Philomelion, Church of Albania
Representatives of the Anglican Communion
The Most Revd Dr Phillip Aspinall, The Anglican Church of Australia
The Rt Revd Dr Humberto Maiztegui Gonçalves, The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil
The Rt Revd Graham Usher, The Church of England
The Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce, The Church of England
The Very Revd Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, The Church in Wales
The Revd Canon Philip Hobson OGS, The Anglican Church of Canada
The Rt Revd Michael Lewis, The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East
The Very Revd Canon Hosam Naoum, The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East
The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, Co-Secretary
The Revd Neil Vigers, Anglican Communion Office
Members unable to attend
The Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams, Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury
The Revd Marc Billimoria, Church of Ceylon
The Revd Gcebile Phumzile Gina, The Anglican Church of Southern Africa