A new book was launched on January 23 containing the joint statements issued by the Catholic Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches.
Archbishop Emeritus Kevin McDonald of Southwark and Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Britain, talked about the book’s aims and purpose at the launch. Speaking in the Week of Prayer for Christian unity, the two leaders, who are co-chairmen of the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum (C-OORF), emphasised the importance of ecumenism.
Archbishop McDonald said: “This is a reminder that there is a global aspect to ecumenism, and particularly today with the Arab Spring and with the impact of those unfolding events for all the Christian churches in North Africa and the Middle East. It’s a good time for us to recognise that there is an international dimension to ecumenism and we all have a stake in it. We’re all part of it. So I invite you therefore to take it, to read it, and to invite others to do the same.”
Bishop Angaelos said: “It’s very important for us to see how we can witness together. We get so tied up in theological discourse sometimes that we forget that the common life of Christianity we live today has a real implication on the ground. We are facing threats of increased secularism and increasing marginalisation of religion in general and Christianity in particular. I think being members of first century churches, we really do need to both live and also introduce to people the wealth and meaning and value of what it is to witness and live our Christianity today.”
C-OORF was established on March 1 2007 and consists of episcopal members of the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales department of dialogue and Unity. The forum meets twice a year to share common cultural and social concerns which call on common witness, rooted in shared belief in the Scriptures, sacraments and tradition.