Joint Orthodox-Catholic Statement: "Unity is a Matter of Urgency"

The Greek Orthodox Church has been following the papal election and Patriarch Bartholomew’s visit to the Vatican very closely.

The joint statement of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation entitled - Steps Towards A Reunited Church: A Sketch Of An Orthodox-Catholic Vision For The Future, was recently re-posted on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan website.

These are a few excerpts but the entire statement is worth reading. The statement gives a general history of the papacy and outlines a practical path to unity:

October 2, 2010 (Georgetown University, Washington, DC) In light of the divine gifts that we share it seems all the more urgent to us that our Churches grow closer together, in ways that the men and women of our time can see.

The fact that our two Christian families have been separatedin some central points of theology and Church discipline for almost a thousand years, and as a result no longer share in the sacramental communion that bound us together during the first millennium, is not only a violation of the will of God, as expressed in the prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper that his disciples “may be one” (John 17.21), but is also a serious impediment to effective Christian engagement in the world, and to the effective realization of our common mission to preach the Gospel

To become what we are, effectively and permanently, we cannot stop short of re-establishing full Eucharistic communion among ourselves. Clearly, this cannot be achieved without new, better harmonized structures of leadership on both sides: new conceptions of both synodality and primacy in the universal Church, new approaches to the way primacy and authority are exercised in both our communions…

The challenge and the invitation to Orthodox and Catholic Christians, who understand themselves to be members of Christ’s Body precisely by sharing in the Eucharistic gifts and participating in the transforming life of the Holy Spirit, is now to see Christ authentically present in each other, and to find in those structures of leadership that have shaped our communities through the centuries a force to move us beyond disunity, mistrust, and competition, and towards that oneness in his Body, that obedience to his Spirit, that will reveal us as his disciples before the world. [read the full statement]