Joint Statement on Tensions in Eastern Europe Related to "Uniatism"

Joint Statement of the United States Orthodox/Roman Catholic Consultation on Tensions in Eastern Europe Related to "Uniatism"

U. S. Theological Consultation, 1992

The Most recent (43rd) meeting of the U.S. Orthodox/Roman Catholic Consultation at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts, May 26-28, 1992, focused upon the question of "Uniatism" and reviewed a number of recent statements regarding religious conflicts in Eastern Europe. Included among these texts were: the joint text of the Roman Catholic Church and Russian Orthodox Church (January 17, 1990), the Freising Statement of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholics Church and the Orthodox Church (June 15, 1990), our Consultation's previous joint communique on "Current Tensions between Our Churches in Eastern Europe" (October 20, 1990), the Ariccia draft statement of its Coordinating Committee on "Uniatism as a Method of Union in the Past and the Prevent Search for Full Communion" (June 15, 1991), the statement of the U.S. Orthodox and Roman Catholic bishops Commission (September 19, 1991), and the "Message of the Primates of the Most Holy Orthodox Churches" from the fourteen primates of patriarchates and autocephalous and autonomous churches (March 15, 1992). We, the members of this Consultation, formulate this joint statement of concern.

  1. Our own experience of cooperation and dialogue in North America has generally been a harmonious and fruitful one. This experience convinces us that resolution of the present difficulties will be possible only through prayer and a deepened dialogue in truth and love.

  2. We recognize that it is not always possible for us to judge the accuracy of reports on abuses of justice or proselytism in distant parts of the world. We decry publication of unverified alleged events or incidents that only fan the feelings of fear and prejudice as well as inflammatory reactions to verified incidents. We also decry one-sided or prejudicial reporting on religious developments in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, which, through emotionalism or sensationalism, would tend to undercut efforts toward genuine cooperation and reconciliation. We therefore appeal to world-wide human rights' agencies and the media to lend their service for a balanced presentation of events and we commit ourselves to the task of sharing and attempting to verify such information as we receive.

  3. We recognize that, because of the burden of past history and the painful actions of governments and churches, there exist among Christians in many parts of the world, especially Eastern Europe, a high degree of resentment, antipathy, suspicion and even fear of other Christian communities. If such attitudes are to be overcome, it is essential that our churches together formulate and implement practical recommendations, such as those prevented in the Ariccia working draft, the January 1990 agreement between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, and elsewhere, effectively addressing the specific issues that divide us.

  4. Therefore, we encourage mutual consultation at all levels, particularly before any activities are undertaken which might even inadvertently give offense to others. Such consultation would help all parties to avoid needless misunderstandings.

  5. In reviewing the various documents which have dealt with recent tensions between our churches, we find that expressions like "Uniatism" have been used and understood in diverse ways. We believe that such expressions require more careful analysis. Among other things, a distinction should be made between "Uniatism" understood as inappropriate, indeed unacceptable, model or method for church union, and "Uniatism" understood as the existence of convinced Eastern Christians who have accepted full communion with the See of Rome as part of their self-understanding as a church. "Uniatism" in the former sense is no longer accepted by either of our churches.

  6. We are convinced that in countries previously under Communist oppression, as well as elsewhere, a healthy interaction between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church or even between the Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches could lead to important developments in theological renewal, liturgical reform, and useful formulation of Christian social and political doctrine.

  7. We recognize the importance of participating jointly in and sharing the results of theological, ecclesiastical, and historical research among clergy, seminarians and laity, especially in countries where freedom of the press and easy access to international scholarship have been systematically hindered.

  8. The present difficulties offer theologians opportunities to explore, from a new perspective, certain theological themes which have been discussed repeatedly in recent ecumenical dialogues. We are challenged, to give only two examples, to explain what "mutual recognition as sister churches" means in practice, and to explore structures needed for achieving communion among the worldwide community of local churches.
Brookline, MA
May 28, 1992
43rd Meeting

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“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 ESV)

This Week's Scripture

November 12, 2017
Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost
- Matins: Matthew 28:16-20 (Gospel 1)
- Liturgy: Ephesians 2.4-10, Luke 8:26-39 (Slavs), Luke 8:41-46 (Greeks)

Twenty-Fourth Week After Pentecost
- Monday: 1 Thessalonians 2:20-3:8, Luke 14:12-15
- Tuesday: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 14:25-35
- Wednesday: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, Luke 15:1-10
- Thursday: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8, Luke 16:1-9
- Friday: 1 Thessalonians 5:9-13,24-28, Luke 16:15-18,17:1-4
- Saturday: 2 Corinthians 11:1-6, Luke 9:57-62

November 19, 2017
Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost
- Matins: Mark 16:1-8 (Matins Gospel 2)
- Liturgy: Ephesians 2:4-22, Luke 12:16-21

Twenty-Fifth Week After Pentecost
- Monday: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Luke 17:20-25

November 21, 2017
Feast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple
- Vespers: Exodus 40, 3(1) Kings 7,8, Ezekiel 43:27-44:4
- Matins: Luke 17:26-37
- Liturgy: Hebrews 9:1-7, Luke 10:38-42, 11:27-28

- Tuesday: 2 Thessalonians 1:10-2:2, Luke 17:26-37, 18:8
- Wednesday: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Luke 18:15-17, 26-30
- Thursday: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5, Luke 18:31-34
- Friday: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18, Luke 19:12-28
- Saturday: Galatians 1:3-10, Luke 10:19-21

November 26, 2017
Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost
- Matins: Mark 16:9-20 (Gospel 3)
- Liturgy: Ephesians 4:1-6, Luke 13:10-17 (Slavs), Luke 18:18-27 (Greeks)

Feasts & Fasts

November
8 - Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers
11 - Veterans' Day (USA), Remembrance Day (Canada)
15 - Nativity Fast (Philip's Fast also known as Advent)
21 - The Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple
23 - Thanksgiving Day (USA)

December
6 - St Nicholas the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
9 (8) - The Conception of the Most Holy Mother of God by the Righteous Anna
12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe
17 - Second Sunday Before Christmas (Holy Forefathers)
24 - Sunday Before Christmas (Holy Fathers) / Christmas Eve
25 - The Nativity of our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ
26 - Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God, Boxing Day (Canada)
27 - First-Martyr and Archdeacon Stephen
28 - 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia
29 - 14,000 Infants (the Holy Innocents) Slain by Herod at Bethlehem
31 - Sunday after Christmas: Commemoration of the Holy Righteous David the King, Joseph the Betrothed, and James the Brother of the Lord

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"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

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Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

Today is the prelude of the goodwill of God * and the heralding of the salvation of mankind; * the Virgin appears clearly in the temple of God * and foretells Christ to all. * Let us also with a mighty voice cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s divine plan.” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The most pure Temple of the Savior, * the most precious Bridal-Chamber and Virgin, the sacred Treasury of the glory of God, * is brought today into the house of the Lord, * bringing with her the grace that is in the Divine Spirit. * The angels of God praise her in song: * “She is the heavenly tabernacle.” (Kontakion - Tone 4)

(November 21st)

Random Proverb

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Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved. 

St. John Chrysostom