(Vatican Radio) They are representatives of some of the most ancient Christian churches in the world, founded according to tradition by the apostles in Egypt, Armenia, Syria, India and Ethiopia in the decades following Christ’s death and Resurrection. They are Churches that have not been in communion with either the Roman Catholic world or the Eastern Orthodox world since they officially severed ties in the 5th century – hence very little is known about their rich heritage and traditions outside those countries where they are still based. Representatives of all the Oriental Orthodox Churches are here in Rome this week for a meeting of their International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue with the Catholic Church. The five day encounter is focused on Communion and Communication in the first five centuries of Christianity. To find out more, Philippa Hitchen spoke with Fr Gabriel Quicke, who’s in charge of relations with these Oriental Orthodox Churches at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity….
“Last year we had our meeting in Ethiopia, hosted by Patriarch Abune Paulos who died recently in August – I went with Cardinal Koch to attend his funeral…. In Addis Ababa we decided to organise a draft commission in September where we have put all the papers together on Communion and Communication in the first five centuries….
We see that we have a lot of elements in common, we are making progress step by step, listening to one another….exchanging ideas but also experiences and gifts…
We hear about these Churches more and more – in Egypt for example they are in a very difficult situation….we have to take their community into our hearts and support them by different means…”