Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission meets after 10 years

The Archbishop of Canterbury with members of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (Photo: ACO/Neil Vigers)

After a ten-year postponement, the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission concluded its second meeting in England on Monday.

Discussions were held on questions of Christology and the Holy Spirit.

On Saturday evening, prayers were said for Egypt, Syria and the wider Middle East during a special service.

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, and acting Co-Secretary of the commission this year said: "Having reconvened after a long postponement, we met with the aim of continuing our good relations and establishing greater unity between our Churches, while still tackling difficult and challenging issues.

"This has been an opportunity to re-establish a valuable platform for common understanding, leading to a greater witness of solidarity, not only for members of our own Churches but for the wider Christian Church and the whole world, especially our brethren in Egypt, Syria and throughout the Middle East for whom we prayed."

The meeting follows the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, to Egypt in June where he was hosted by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa.

Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, Co-Chair of the Dialogue said: "We rejoice that we have met together once more, here in England, and within this Diocese of Guildford. We have gathered to reflect on our common faith in Christ."

Archbishop Aphrem Karim of the Syriac Orthodox Church said: "What is happening in Syria and the Middle East is the cost we have to pay for our faith. But the whole people of the Middle East, Christians and Muslims are suffering."

Archbishop Welby, who met with members of the consultation on Sunday, said: "I am delighted that Anglican and Orthodox Christians will worship together and remember in prayer the very difficult, indeed life-threatening circumstances in which some of the Churches are living."

The third meeting of the Commission is planned to take place in Cairo, Egypt, in October 2014, hosted by the Coptic Orthodox Church, addressing the themes of ecclesiology, primacy and collegiality, and pastoral co-operation.

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