Anglican/Orthodox Theological Commission Meets in New York

International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue Communiqué 2015

Posted on: September 25, 2015 7:33 AM

The International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue met in Buffalo, New York, from 19 to 25 September 2015.
Photo Credit: ICAOTD

International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue

September 2015 Communiqué

Buffalo, New York, United States of America

In the name of the Triune God, and with the blessing and guidance of our Churches, the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) met in Buffalo, New York, from 19 to 25 September 2015. The Commission is deeply grateful for the generous hospitality extended by the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Buffalo (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople).

Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit formally welcomed the Commission to its meeting in his diocese. He offered praise and encouragement for the work of the dialogue. He stressed the urgent need for expressions of Christian unity in light of the deep challenges and crises before the global community, mindful of events unfolding even as the Commission undertook its deliberations.

The Commission brought to completion the first section of its work on the theological understanding of the human person, with the adoption of its agreed statement, In the Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology. The report, shortly to be published, is the culmination of six years of study on what Anglicans and Orthodox can say together about the meaning of human personhood in the divine image.

This agreement lays the foundation for continuing dialogue on ethical decision-making in the light of this vision. At its future meetings the Commission will consider the practical consequences of this theological approach to personhood. The Commission anticipates ongoing study in areas such as bioethics and the sanctity of life, as well as human rights and ecological justice.

The meeting commenced with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Commission members also attended an ecumenical celebration of Evensong at St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral. The Commission was welcomed by Bishop William Franklin of the Diocese of Western New York. In his homily he spoke of the contribution to Christian unity made by a former bishop of the diocese, Charles Henry Brent, who was a leading pioneer in the Faith and Order movement. Daily prayer strengthened and grounded the work accomplished together. Morning and evening prayers were offered, alternating between Anglicans and Orthodox.

The fellowship of the Commission was enriched by the warm and gracious reception by parishioners of the Annunciation Church, and their parish priest, the Revd Dr Christos Christakis, who is the Orthodox Co-Secretary of the dialogue. Members of the Commission were introduced to the unique historic, cultural and natural characteristics of the city of Buffalo, Niagara Falls and the surrounding area.

The work of the Commission will continue at its next meeting in September 2016, to be hosted by the Anglican Communion.

Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
Orthodox Co-Chairman

The Most Revd Roger Herft
Anglican Co-Chairman

Representatives of the Orthodox Church

Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
Ecumenical Patriarchate, Co-Chairman

Metropolitan Serafim of Zimbabwe
Patriarchate of Alexandria

The Revd Fr Alexander Haig
Patriarchate of Antioch

The Revd Dr George Dragas
Patriarchate of Jerusalem

The Revd Dr Valentin Vassechko
Patriarchate of Moscow

Professor Dr Bogdan Lubardic
Patriarchate of Serbia

Metropolitan Nifon of Târgovişte
Patriarchate of Romania

Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Kition
Church of Cyprus

Professor Dr Miltiadis Konstantinou
Church of Greece

Bishop Ilia of Philomelion
Church of Albania

The Revd Dr Christos B Christakis

Members unable to attend:

Protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze
Patriarchate of Georgia

The Revd Fr Andrzej Minko
Church of Poland

Representatives of the Anglican Communion

The Most Revd Roger Herft of Perth
The Anglican Church of Australia, Co-Chairman

The Revd Marc Billimoria
The Church of Ceylon

The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke of Armagh
The Church of Ireland

The Revd Canon Deacon Dr Christine Hall
The Church of England

The Revd Canon Philip Hobson OGS
The Anglican Church of Canada

Ms Natasha Klukach
The Anglican Church of Canada

The Rt Revd Michael Lewis of Cyprus & the Gulf
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East

The Revd Dr Gloria Mapangdol
The Episcopal Church in the Philippines

The Revd Dr Duncan Reid
The Anglican Church of Australia

The Revd Canon Professor John Riches
Scottish Episcopal Church

The Rt Revd John Stroyan of Warwick
The Church of England

The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut

The Revd Neil Vigers
Anglican Communion Office

Members Unable to Attend:

The Revd Dr Timothy Bradshaw
The Church of England

The Revd Dr Joseph Wandera
The Anglican Church of Kenya

The Rt Revd Dr Rowan Williams
Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury


In terms of ecumenical relationships, this Meeting of Anglican and Orthodox scholars in theology, though perhaps not as important for the world’s media outlets as the American Tour of Pope Francis at the moment, must surely excite those of us who are interested in the development of interdenominational co-operation on matters of human interest.

For instance, this commission’s reference to Global Climate Change and its importance for the Third World’s social and economic survival seems to match Pope Francis’ concern for the over-consumption of material goods in the developed world, that impinges on the future well-being of everyone on this planet, earth.

It is so easy for the Western nations to overlook the very real needs of the poor and disenfranchised – which should be the goal of every Christian apologist – under the cloak of a modern tendency to dismiss the theological teachings of the Church, as mere dogmatic speculation; when conspicuous over consumption of resources is rapidly overcoming the capability of our world to balance it ecological framework.

Perhaps this meeting of Anglican and Orthodox Theologians – together with the message about Global Consumerism given by Pope Francis on his present visit to the USA – should awaken the Primates of the Anglican Communion to matters more urgent than those which have recently occasioned the current Archbishop of Canterbury, ++Justin Welby, to call them together to discuss other, less important matters,  that threaten to undermine our Communion’s solidarity at this time.

Interestingly, for the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Roman Williams, himself no mean Theologian, has written a response to the papal encyclical Laudato Si, which outlines the papal understanding of the need to conserve the world’s resources; living simply, so that others may simply live.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand


About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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