Vassiliadis B. Petros (ed.) Orthodox Theology and Ecumenical Dialogue, Holy Synod of the Church of Greece – Synodal Committee for Inter-orthodox and Inter-christian Relations, Apostoliki Diakonia publ., Athens 2005, 384 pages.
The present publication contains brief theological analyses and a problematic on the perspective of ecumenical dialogue. It is fruit of a collective effort by three institutions: The Church of Greece, the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the World Council of Churches. The material was presented at the international academic symposium organised by the Theological School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2003, under the theme: “Orthodox Theology and Ecumenical Dialogue: Problems and Perspectives”.
The Archbishop of Athens and the Whole of Greece Mr. Christodoulos underlines the position of the Orthodox Church, which pursues theological dialogue.
I. Tarnanidis refers to the attempt of academic theologians to contribute to the promotion of dialogue conducted by the Orthodox Church.
K. Raiser refers to the importance of Orthodox theological contribution in the life and discussions within the World Council of Churches.
G. Lemopoulos underlines the need for theological schools to contribute and support dialogue, so that it remains current.
The next three studies, by the Metropolitan Kalavryta Amvrosios, the Russian Bishop of Vienna Ilarion and Ch. Stamoulis, refer to new perspectives for Orthodox participation in the World Council of Churches, through proposals by the Special Committee for Orthodox participation in the Council.
The study by J. Kourebeles refers to the working text of the Department “Faith and Order” of the World Council of Churches on the issue “Nature and the Aims of the Church”, stressing the importance for the Council’s resumption of research on serious ecclesiological issues.
N. Papageorgiou based on the NT models of Martha and Maria deals with the place and role of woman in the Orthodox Church examining the dilemma: depreciation or equality? She stresses that the balance between the charismatic and the institutional element has to be discovered, so that women are first restored in the conscience of ecclesiastical body and then practice the role that is suitable for them.
N. Matsoukas examines the thorny question of the ordination of women, mainly pointing out that the two thousand tradition of not ordaining women did never find an articulation relevant to the theological or dogmatic teaching, and substantiating the decay of the current theological arguments adduced against female priesthood and very often, female nature.
P.Bouteneffdeals with the subject of common prayer with Christians coming from other traditions pointing out that the base on which the Orthodox participation in such kind of prayers is founded, is related to the theological/ecclesiological perception of the existence of a Christian reality even outside the canonical boundaries of the Orthodox Church, without accepting the well-known theory of sectors. He also points out and discusses the canonical, ecclesiological and practical issues that emerge from the Orthodox participation in common prayer.
Anna Marie Aagaardfocuses on important aspects of common prayer, pointing out the changes befell with the passage from modernity to post-modernity.
Th. Yangkou refers to the issue of common prayer, this time from the Canon Law perspective, offering patristic texts that prohibit or allow common prayer, and also underlining the discreet and sensitive pastoral attitude that the Orthodox Church adopted regarding this question.
Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis connects ecumenical dialogue with the social presence of the Church and its witness in the civil society, while I. Petrou, from a social analyst perspective, critically analyses the reasons why the intervention of the Churches-members of WCC in contemporary society, is in many cases inefficient.
The papers offered by Metropolitan of DiamettiAnbaBishoyand Prof. Georgios Martzelos refer to various aspects of the Dialogue between Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches, as well as in historical, theological, pastoral and canonical issues in the way of the restoration of full communion.
The text of the bishopJohan Bonny refers to the work, difficulties, achievements and challenges of the Joint Committee of Theological Dialogue between the Roman-Catholic and the Orthodox Church, while Prof. Vassiliadis, continuing on this same issue, taking into consideration the problems and prospects, he extends the discussion based on the dipole of eucharistic and universal ecclesiology.
In the end of the book, the Annex includes: a) the Final text of the Special Committee on the Orthodox participation in the WCC, b) the study document of Faith and Order of WCC on the nature and purpose of the Church, c) a critical annotation of the previously-mentioned document, and d) the final program, the final communice and a Letter-call to the hierarchy of the Orthodox Churches of Georgia and Bulgaria.