North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation Meets

November 2, 1998 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON (November 2, 1998)--Continued study of Baptism and mutual recognition of sacraments was discussed at the 55th meeting of the NorthAmerican Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation here.

The consultation is chaired jointly by His Eminence Metropolitan Maximosof Ainou, Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee. The meeting was attended for the first time by His Grace Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, the new ecumenical officer of theGreek Orthodox Archdiocese.

The meeting was held at St. Paul's College, October 29-31.

Papers on the theme of Baptism and mutual recognition of sacraments werepresented by Father Brian Daley, SJ, and Father Alexander Golitzin. The meeting also heard reports about various events in the lives of bothchurches, and considered the relationship between the North American Consultation and the International Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue which plans to meet next June in Emmitsburg, Maryland, hosted by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The participants also examined a document, Towards a Common Date for Easter, which resulted from a consultation held in Aleppo, Syria, in 1997 and sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches. They issued a statement strongly supporting the Aleppo consultation's recommendations.

On October 30, the consultation met at the headquarters of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and heard a presentation by Father John Hotchkin, Executive Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, about the Joint Declaration on Justification between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation. The groupwas later joined by His Grace Bishop George of Komanon of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

The North American Catholic-Orthodox Theological Consultation is sponsored jointly by the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and the Standing Conference of Canonical OrthodoxBishops of America. Founded in 1965, it was the first official dialogue between the two churches and predated the international dialogue by 15 years. Another body, the Joint Committee of Orthodox andCatholic Bishops, has been meeting annually since 1981 to discuss pastoral issues between the two churches.