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Meeting of Commission for Theological Dialogue between Orthodox Church and World Lutheran Federation in Alexandria

With the blessing of His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa, the Patriarchate of Alexandria will host the meeting of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran World Federation.

This important meeting, which will take place from May 24-31, 2024, will be attended by 14 Orthodox and 10 Lutheran representatives, clergy and lay theologians.

The event has a special significance because it will take place with the paternal and patriarchal blessing of the Pope and Patriarch Theodore II in the historic Patriarchal See of the Church of Alexandria, in the land of the Nile, cradle of Christianity and creator of theology, through the high scapulas and pillars of the true faith, the Great Fathers and Holy Archbishops of Alexandria, through the enclosed Catechetical School of the Holy See of Alexandria. Through the extensive monastic school of the Holy City, as well as through the vast deserts that gave birth to retreat, asceticism, and definitively formed monasticism under heaven and its rules.

It is noted that the official bilateral dialogue between Orthodox and Lutherans began some 40 years ago at the initiative and invitation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Lutheran World Federation, with the first joint meeting in 1981 in Espoo, the Netherlands (27 August – 4 September 1981). The aim of the Commission’s work, as stated in its first joint communiqué, is “Dialogue with the ultimate goal of a full society… A fact that exceeds human expectations when one studies the experience of past centuries”. More than 17 meetings followed this in different cities of Europe and the Mediterranean, where questions of ecclesiology, the Eucharist, and the sacraments, among others, were studied and discussed.

Since 2019, the Commission has been working on the theme of spirituality, “Holy Spirit, Church, and World,” which will be concluded at the Cairo meeting after the 2023 Plenary Assembly in the city of the Reformation, Wittenberg, Germany. The texts issued at these meetings have been a foundation and reference point for the ongoing global encounter and dialogue between the two Christian families. The action of the Holy Spirit in creation, his presence and action within and outside the Church, his emanation and place in divine worship, the invocation, and liturgical prayer are aspects of the common statement being prepared, especially in view of the 1700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council in Nice (325). After completing the theme on the Holy Spirit, the commission will move on to the question of the Synod.

The official opening ceremony of the work of the International Joint Theological Commission will take place tomorrow, May 24, 2024, in the Katholicon of the Patriarchal Monastery of St. George in Old Cairo.