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Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Church in dialogue - East and West

From September 15 to 22, the XIV Plenary Assembly of the International Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church is taking place.  This meeting is being held in Chieti (Italy) and is being hosted by the Archdioceses of Chieti-Vasto and the Italian Episcopal Conference.  The Commission's work is being chaired by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and by the Archbishop of Telmessos Iob (Getcha), on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  As it has been in the past with similar encounters, participants at this gathering include two representatives fro each of the fourteen independently-led Orthodox Churches and numerous Catholic representatives.

The objective of this Plenary session is the examination of a draft document entitled: Towards a common understanding of Synodality and Primacy in service to the Unity of the Church, which has been composed as a result of a previous Plenary session of this Commission held in Amman (Jordan) in 2014, which was completed by the Coordinating Committee of the Commission during their meeting held in Rome in 2015.  In Chieti, the members of the Commission will have to assess whether this draft adequately reflects the consensus that currently exists concerning the delicate question of the theological and ecclesiological relationship between primacy and synodality in the life of the Church or whether it will be necessary to continue study of this theme.

The Plenary session also offers participants an opportunity to share moments of prayer with the local Christian community.  On Saturday, 17 September, the members of the Commission will be present at the celebration of a Mass in the Cathedral of Saint Justin in Chieti; and on Sunday, 18 September, they will participate in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the Shrine of the Holy Face at Manoppello (Chieti).  Finally, the Commission is expected to visit the city of Vasto and the Abbey of Saint John the Venerable in Fossacesia.
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