The Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church has reached unanimous consensus on the “Chieti text”. This is a positive achievement that is not to be understimated.
vaticaninsider.com | Gianni Valente| Rome
The dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches over the exercise of primacy and synodality in the Church is proceeding at a slow pace but without stopping. The working session held by the mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, held in the Italian city of Chieti between 15 September and today, concluded with the unanimous approval of the document titled: “Synodality and Primacy during the First Millennium: Towards a Common Understanding in Service to the Unity of the Church”. The meeting focused on the exercise of the primacy and synodality in the Church before the great Eastern schism. The outcome was welcomed with a liberating applause from the members of the Commission, after the previous session, which took place in Amman in September 2014 reached a stalemate. This was because of the objections raised by many Orthodox representatives with regard to a working draft which did not differ much from the one that was approved yesterday. According to the press release published at the end of the meeting, only the delegation representing the Georgian Orthodox Church expressed its disagreement with some of the passages in the “Chieti document”.
The document approved during the Chieti session, hosted by the archdiocese led by the bishop-theologian Bruno Forte, is an additional working text that follows along the same lines as the first document jointly drafted by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches on the primacy issue and approved in Ravenna in 2007. What is new is the unanimous approval of the latest text.
The Ravenna document of 2007 contained a shared definition of the principle of primacy, as well as the confirmation that – albeit with differences in accepted meanings and nuances between the Eastern and Western Churches – the Bishop of Rome was recognised by all as the primus, being the holder of the Prima Sedes (first see), the Church of Rome. But in Ravella, in 2007, the representatives of the Patriarchate of Moscow made a dramatic exit, abandoning the session before the discussions had even got going properly and the Russian Orthodox Church never gave official recognition to that document.