(Vatican Radio) 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. During the five day encounter, which began on Monday, participants hope to finalise a joint document on Communion and Communication in the first five centuries of Christianity.
The Oriental Orthodox Churches are amongst the most ancient Christian communities in the world, founded according to tradition by the first apostles in Egypt, Armenia, Syria, India and Ethiopia in the decades following Christ’s death and Resurrection. They have not been in communion with either the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox world since they officially severed ties in the 5th century.
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….
Fr Gabriel says the new document is significant for Christians today as it highlights the rich heritage the Churches shared in the first five centuries before the divisions took place…
He says the Commission will go on to a new round of discussions on the sacraments, especially the question of Baptism which is still not recognised by some of the Oriental Orthodox Churches…
Fr Gabriel says many of the Oriental Orthodox Church leaders are witnessing an emptying out of their communities because of the lack of security in the Middle East region. He says the solidarity of the Catholic world and the appeals of Pope Francis on behalf of persecuted Christians are very important and much appreciated by the people there…..