Anglican and Oriental–Orthodox Churches Sign Historic Agreement in Christ Church Cathedral
Yesterday evening (Thursday October 26) a historic agreement between the Anglican and Oriental–Orthodox Churches was signed in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. The ‘Dublin Agreement’ is the result of two years’ work by the Anglican Oriental–Orthodox International Commission on an agreed text on the Holy Spirit that will be linked to the mission of the Church.
Members of the Commission have been meeting in Dublin throughout this week and the agreement was signed by the Co–Chairs, The Right Revd Gregory K Cameron (Anglican/Church in Wales) and His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy (Oriental–Orthodox/Coptic Church) during Choral Evensong at the cathedral.
The Commission meeting has been hosted by the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, who in his sermon last night welcomed members to the mother church of the dioceses. The Archbishop is a member of the Commission and said that since its relaunch, members’ concern had been with doctrine, first and foremost with the doctrine of God.
“We have worked together as two families who have become one family. The exploration of The Second Person of The Trinity and The Third Person of The Trinity have issued in important theological output in a wide variety of ways,” he said.
The Commission’s discussions and theological work on the Holy Spirit and the authority of the Church, has been further shaped by hearing of the tragic impact that contemporary events have had and continue to have on the countries and the people of all faiths from which the Oriental–Orthodox members come: the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Indian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Orthodox Church.
“These tragedies have made their way into our theology and into our prayer. These atrocities have famed our discourse and our compassion. These human and civic devastations have helped to give a contemporary urgency and tragic vibrancy to our reflections. This is all the more poignant for us in that all of these Churches are represented here and their members live in Ireland and in Dublin. We have worshipped, for example, last evening in The Coptic Orthodox Church of St Maximus and St Domatius in Drumcondra. We and they together are also one family. We all know one another,” the Archbishop stated.
A copy of the Dublin Agreement was presented to the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, the Very Revd Dermot Dunne, by the Co–chairs. It will be on display in the cathedral.
The Commission has been meeting in the Deanery of St Patrick’s Cathedral and members have also made time to visit a number of Dublin’s attractions including the Chester Beatty Library, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Marsh’s Library, the Book of Kells in Trinity College. They also attended reception in the Mansion House with Ardmhéara Bhaile Átha Cliath/Lord Mayor of Dublin and attended St Maximous and St Domatius Coptic Orthodox Church in Drumcondra for prayers in the Coptic tradition.
This was the sixth meeting of the Commission since its foundation in 2001. The Anglican–Oriental Orthodox Commission was established to strengthen the relationships between the Anglican Communion and Oriental–Orthodox Churches and discuss important theological issues. Among these is the issue of Christology which divided the Church at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, leaving the Oriental–Orthodox Churches and the Byzantine and Western Churches separated from one another.
Commission members present include:
From the Anglican Communion: The Right Revd Gregory K Cameron (Co–Chair) and The Revd Dr Patrick Thomas representing the Church in Wales, The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut (Co–Secretary) and The Revd Neil Vigers from the Anglican Communion Office, The Revd Stephen Stavrou and The Revd Canon Dr William Taylor representing the Church of England, The Right Revd Dr Samy Shehata and The Revd Christopher Edgar representing the Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, The Ven Dr Edward Simonton OGS representing the Anglican Church of Canada and The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson representing the Church of Ireland.
From the Oriental Orthodox Churches: His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy (Co–Chair) and His Grace Bishop Angaelos from the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, His Eminence Polycarpus Augin Aydin and The Very Revd Fr Roger Akhrass from the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch , His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan from the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church – Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, The Revd Fr Dr KM George from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and The Revd Fr Kaletsadike M. Argaw from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
Many of the Oriental Orthodox churches are present in Dublin, amongst them the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Indian Orthodox Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Armenian Church.