International Commission of the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue
February 2003 Communiqué
Addis Adaba, Ethiopia
The International Commission of the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue met in Addis Adaba from February 4th to 7th as guests of His Eminence Metropolitan Petros of Aksum of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa.
The Commission's meetings were held in the Residence of Metropolitan Petros, where the Commission enjoyed the generous hospitality of His Eminence. The Commission record their gratitude to Metropolitan Petros, who also hosted a Reception for the Commission at which His Holiness Paul, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was guest of honour, together with representatives of the local ecclesial communities and embassies of the Commission members. The Commission were also guests of the Hellenic Community of Addis Adaba for dinner, and of His Excellency Spyros Aliagas, the Greek Ambassador, for a reception.
The Commission is composed of representatives of the Orthodox Churches and of the Anglican Communion. The Dialogue began its work by exploring doctrinal differences between the Anglican and Orthodox Churches in 1973. Agreements reached in its first two stages were set out in the Moscow Agreed Statement of 1976 and the Dublin Agreed Statement of 1984. In its present third phase, which began in 1989, the Commission has been examining ecclesiology in the light of our faith in the Holy Trinity, the Person of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
In 2001, at Volos, Greece, the Commission focussed on the ordained ministry of the Church and approved an Interim Agreed Statement on Episcope, Episcopos and Primacy. This was followed in 2002, at Abergavenny, Wales, by another Interim Agreed Statement, Priesthood, Christ and the Church. There the Commission began to concentrate on an examination of the issues surrounding the ordination of women to the priesthood. The discussion of non-ordained ministry was also introduced.
In Addis Adaba the Commission continued to study papers on lay ministries in the Church, and the ordination of women to the priesthood. An Orthodox paper on non-ordained ministry was presented and discussed together with an Anglican paper on the Ministries of Lay Men and Women and Deacons in the Anglican Tradition. There was also extensive discussion of the nature and understanding of diaconal ministry in our churches. By continuing to persevere in its study of these aspects of ministry, the Commission expects to be able to express a strong and creative consensus on ministry in the context of its ecclesiological study.
The Commission will meet again in 2004. After it completes an Interim Agreed Statement on the ordination of women to the priesthood and "non-priestly" ministries in the church, the remaining issues still to be considered in this phase of the Commission's work include reception by the church of new ideas and practices, and questions regarding heresy and schism. The goal is to bring together all the Interim Agreements in a Report for publication in 2006.
Commission Members present in Addis Adaba were:
Metropolitan John of Pergamon (Ecumenical Patriarchate) (Co-chair)
Metropolitan Petros of Aksum (Patriarchate of Alexandria) (host)
Fr Alexander Haig (Patriarchate of Antioch)
Bishop Basil of Sergievo (Patriarchate of Moscow)
Archbishop Niphon of Targoviste (Patriarchate of Romania)
Bishop Vasilios of Trimithus (Church of Cyprus)
Professor Constantine Scouteris (Church of Greece)
Metropolitan Ambrosius of Helsinki (Church of Finland),
Fr Christos B Christakis (Church of Estonia) (co-secretary)
Bishop Max Thomas (Anglican Church of Australia) (Co-chair)
Bishop John Baycroft (Anglican Church of Canada)
Dr John Gibaut (Anglican Church of Canada)
Canon William Green (Episcopal Church of the USA)
Bishop William Gregg (Episcopal Church of the USA)
Canon Livingstone Ngewu (Church of the Province of Southern Africa)
Dr Duncan Reid (Anglican Church of Australia)
Fr John Riches (Episcopal Church of Scotland)
Canon Hugh Wybrew (Church of England)
Fr Gregory Cameron (Church in Wales) (co-secretary).
Metropolitan John of Pergamon
Bishop Max Thomas
Acting Anglican Co-Chairman
Addis Adaba, Ethiopia, 7 February 2003