Pope Francis greets Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of external relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, at the Vatican Sept 15. Between Sept. 15-22 leading Catholic and Orthodox bishops will come together in Italy to discuss key issues that are keeping their churches apart. CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano

Catholics, Orthodox meet to discuss synodality, papal primacy

By  Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service
  • September 16, 2016

VATICAN CITY – Leading Catholic and Orthodox bishops were meeting in Italy to continue discussions on the key issue keeping their Churches apart: the role of the bishop of Rome, the pope.

The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church was meeting in Chieti Sept. 15-22. 

Participants were to discuss the draft document, "Towards a common understanding of synodality and primacy in the service to the unity of the Church," which was finished during a meeting in Rome in 2015, the Vatican press office announced Sept. 15.

Participants were being asked "to determine whether the draft accurately reflects the current consensus on the delicate question of the theological and ecclesiological aspects of primacy in its relation to synodality in the life of the Church or whether it will be necessary to continue to delve deeper into the issue," said the Vatican communique.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was presiding over the plenary session together with Orthodox Archbishop Job of Telmessos from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Two representatives for each of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox Churches and the same number of Catholic representatives were attending the meeting.

In 2006, talks began on the relationship between primacy — the authority of the lead bishop — and synodality, or the deliberation of the College of Bishops in the West and the synod of bishops in the Eastern churches.

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