The International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, meeting in Shen Vlash, Durrës, Albania, issued a communiqué on Sept. 22. The text follows.
In the name of God, the All Holy and Blessed Trinity, and with the blessing and guidance of our Churches the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) met at the Monastery of Shen Vlash, Durrës, Albania, during 16 - 23 September 2011. The Commission is grateful for the hospitality offered by the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania, under the leadership of His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durrës and all Albania, whom they were pleased to welcome to their meeting.
The members of the Commission were welcomed by His Grace Bishop Ilia Katre, His Grace Bishop Nikolla Hyka, by students of the Seminary at Shen Vlash, and by the faithful of the Church of Albania.
ICAOTD is deepening and consolidating its work on a joint study of the theological riches, in Scripture and our traditions, of the understanding of the nature of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God. From this understanding flow many implications which are of particular importance to our world today. These relate directly to human rights, ecology, the environment and agricultural practices, and the questions that arise around the ethics concerning the beginning and the end of human life, the nature and relationship of man and woman, technology, and the constant warfare that plagues many parts of the globe. At this meeting the Commission developed a framework for its fundamental theological work on the question of the human person.
In the course of their discussions and in intercessory prayers members of the Commission were made aware of the violation of human rights taking place in many parts of the world, and expressed great concern.
Members of ICAOTD visited the Home of Hope children's home; Tirana's new Resurrection Cathedral, almost completed; a medical centre which provides affordable care to the poorest in the capital; and the historic city of Kruje.
The Commission rejoiced at the resurrection of the Church in Albania in the years since the end of communism, and gave thanks to God for the leadership of Archbishop Anastasios and his clergy. The Church has done remarkable work in the re-evangelisation of the nation, the formation of people in the Christian life, and the reconstruction of worshipping communities, and of buildings. Work in education and in health care is also flourishing. Starting in a society from which all forms of religious expression had been almost completely eliminated, great and inspiring work has been done, and this is cause for celebration and continued support by the wider Christian world.
The work of the Dialogue was strengthened by shared daily prayer. Members attended services at the Cathedral in Tirana, and in the Church of St. Vlash and the Chapel of the Resurrection.
The Commission will continue its discussion at its next meeting in the Anglican diocese of St Asaph, in September 2012, at the invitation of the Rt Rev. Gregory Cameron of the Church in Wales.
Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
Archbishop Roger Herft of Perth
Shen Vlash, Thursday 22 September 2011
Representatives of the Orthodox Church
Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Ecumenical Patriarchate, Co-chairman
Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe, Patriarchate of Alexandria
The Rev. Fr. Alexander Haig, Patriarchate of Antioch
The Rev. Dr. Cyril Hovorun, Patriarchate of Moscow
Professor Dr. Bogdan Lubardic, Patriarchate of Serbia
Metropolitan Nifon of Târgoviste, Patriarchate of Romania
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Kition, Church of Cyprus
Professor Dr. Miltiadis Konstantinou, Church of Greece
The Rev. Andrzej Minko, Church of Poland
Bishop Ilia of Philomelion, Church of Albania
The Rev. Dr. Christos B Christakis, Co-Secretary
[Orthodox ] Members unable to attend:
Fr. George Dragas, Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Archpriest Giorgi Zviadadze, Church of Georgia
Representatives of the Anglican Communion
The Most Rev. Roger Herft of Perth, The Anglican Church of Australia, co-chairman
The Rev. Dr. Timothy Bradshaw, The Church of England
The Most Rev. Richard Clarke of Meath & Kildare, The Church of Ireland
The Rev. Canon Jonathan Goodall, Archbishop of Canterbury's representative
The Rev. Deacon Dr. Christine Hall, The Church of England
The Rt. Rev. Michael Lewis of Cyprus & the Gulf, The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East
The Rev. Dr. Duncan Reid, The Anglican Church of Australia
The Rev. Canon Professor John Riches, Scottish Episcopal Church
The Rt. Rev. John Stroyan of Warwick, The Church of England
The Rev. Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Co-secretary
Mr Neil Vigers, Anglican Communion Office Staff
[Anglican] Members unable to attend:
The Rev. Marc Billimoria, The Church of Ceylon
The Rev. Canon Philip Hobson OGS, The Anglican Church of Canada
Ms Natasha Klukach, The Anglican Church of Canada
The Rev. Dr Gloria Mapangdol, The Episcopal Church in the Philippines
The Rev. Joseph Wandera, The Anglican Church of Kenya
Papers submitted to the meeting:
The Rev. Dr. Cyril Hovorun; Hermeneutics of the Russian Orthodox Church, Human Dignity, Freedom and Rights
Professor Dr. Miltiadis Konstantinou; Sacrifice as an expression of man and God's relationship
The Rt. Rev. John Stroyan; The Human Person: Sacrifice, Salvation and Community with particular reference to human limitation
The Rev. Canon Professor John Riches; Human Rights and Christian Theology
The Most Rev. Roger Herft; An overview of Anglican Understandings of the Divine Image and Likeness in humanity
The Rev. Deacon Dr Christine Hall; Human responsibility for Creation: Towards a critical overview of recent statements by our churches and Bibliography: Human Responsibility for Creation.