An international commission for dialogue between the Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches is meeting this week in Etchmiadzin, Republic of Armenia, hosted by the head of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, His Holiness Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian (Primate of the Diocese of Eastern United States) and Bishop Yeznig Bedrossian (Ecumenical Officer of Holy Etchmiadzin) will represent the Catholicosate of All Armenians during the meeting.
The joint commission is made up of 14 Catholic representatives and14 delegates from the Oriental Orthodox churches– the Christian bodies that broke with Rome in the 5th century after the Council of Chalcedon. Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, heads the Vatican delegation to the talks. He will co-chair the sessions along with Metropolitan Amba Bishov of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Orthodox representation includes members of the Coptic, Armenian, Syrian, Ethiopian, and Eritrean, and (Indian) Syro-Malankar Orthodox churches; the Catholic
delegation includes members of both the Latin and Eastern rites.
The commission is meeting this week for the third time since it was created in 2003. The first meeting took place in Cairo in 2004; the second was in Rome in 2005. This week’s meeting is due to address the apostolic succession of bishops, the balance between papal primacy and episcopal collegiality, and the role of bishops’ synods.