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Die Ökumene muss
weitergehen!

Kardinal Franz König

Pro Oriente

Commission for Ecumenical Encounter between the Oriental-Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church

(CEE)

The PRO ORIENTE Commission for Ecumenical Encounter between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church (CEE) was established in Vienna in November 2015. The work of the commission is meant to contribute to overcoming the boundaries between the Churches and to render the existing unity visible.

Historical Background

The idea of establishing a commission for the unofficial scholarly ecumenical encounter between the Oriental Orthodox Churches (Coptic Orthodox Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Eritrean Orthodox Church) and the Catholic Church has its roots in the desire to resume PRO ORIENTE’s very successful dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Due to various problems (political, church political, theological and human) the dialogue was interrupted in 1998. From 2004 the official International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches began its work, and as a consequence the continuation of an unofficial dialogue did not seem necessary.
However, the experience of the past decade has shown that an unofficial, critical, and innovative accompaniment of the official dialogue is of great value for the progress to unity. This can be seen particularly within the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. PRO ORIENTE decided to re-establish an unofficial commission for the dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Since 2007 the scholarly head of the commission, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dietmar W. Winkler, has conducted talks with persons in positions of responsibility for these Churches in order to improve the climate between them after the interruption of the PRO ORIENTE dialogue.

Methods and Aim

The CEE consists of one representative of each of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, with the exception of the Eritrean Orthodox Church (political reasons prevent its integration), observers (Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Ecumenical Department of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin), experts as well as consultants of PRO ORIENTE.
The members of the commission have decided to deal intensively with one topic in regular intervals and to invite other experts. CONSULTATION: The founding members believe that the integration of the younger generation of the churches’ theologians is important. This can be accomplished first and foremost within the CONSULTATION.
It is the aim of these joint efforts to think and work as an ecumenical commission, in order to overcome the confessional boundaries between the Churches in the future. Furthermore, in dealing with each working topic the pastoral implications should be given particular attention. At the end of each consultation, a joint communiqué records its results and is then delivered as a recommendation to the Churches and the Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

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