On the 27th February St. John the Evangelist's Church, Upper Norwood organised a talk on “Anglican-Orthodox Relations. A Dead-End or a Way Forward?” This Event took place at St John the Evangelist’s Church, Upper Norwood.
The talk analysed various features of the relations. Firstly we had the introduction of the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association (AECA), which was the first Anglican-Orthodox body, founded in 1864. Its aim was to: Advance the Christian religion, particularly by teaching members of the Anglican and Orthodox Churches about each other, in order to prepare the way for an ultimate union between them, in accordance with our Lord’s prayers that ‘all may be one’.
The second important society promoting Anglican-Orthodox Relations is the Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius. The Fellowship shows the one life of the Church overcoming division; it is a sign of the future unity, wished by everyone who is involved in the Ecumenical Movement.
A historical overview was given, in order to give the basis of the current official dialogue. It was evident that a sporadic interest was shown towards the Eastern Christians, whilst the initiative in the negotiations came from the Anglicans. Relations have existed since the 17th century; however the 20th century will be known as the Century of Ecumenism. During this century we have the establishment of the first Orthodox Archdiocese in the West, the Archdiocese of Thyateria and Great Britain, in London.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) was analysed. The objective of the WCC is not to build a global ‘super-church’, nor to standardise styles of worship, but to deepen the fellowship and the relationship of the Christian churches in order to identify the true manifestation of what we all claim in the Creed, i.e. ‘one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.’
The Relations have reached an official stage, which have resulted in the 3 Agreed Statements: Moscow (1976), Dublin (1984), Cyprus (2006). The Fourth Official Statement will concentrate on Anthropology, as proposed by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia.
The importance of the relations in Britain:
- First Orthodox Archdiocese in the West – London.
- More than 150 Orthodox Communities in the U.K.
- Icons in many Anglican Churches.
Results of the Dialogue:
- The highest and most promising ‘ecumenical virtue’ is patience (Fr. George Florovski).
- Further understanding of the other ecclesiastical body.
- The Relations have inevitably affected both East and West!
Dead End or a Way Forward:
- The future is bright, as long as there are people who are interested in promoting Anglican-Orthodox Relations.
- Cooperation is key in the furtherance of the relations.
- Archbishop Justin Welby: ‘There is much that united us and as we continue to strengthen the bonds of friendship our understanding of each other’s traditions will grow.’
- We should all pray ‘for the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of God’s holy Churches, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.’
I would like to thank the Church of St John the Evangelist and Ian Golds for organising this event and to everyone who came and were part of this event.