Interim Report on Ecclesial Eucharistic Communion
Statement of the joint commission between the Roman Catholic and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India
We give thanks to God for having brought us together again to pray and work for the advancement of unity and for the strengthening of relations between our two churches, on our way to the restoration of Eucharistic communion. We experienced again the presence of the Holy Spirit among us, leading us in Christ to that unity for which He prayed.
Our previous agreement on our common understanding of the great central mystery of the Incarnation was the foundation and basis for our discussion, particularly since Christological disputes were the occasion for the original breach of communion, centuries ago, between the Roman Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Christ whom we jointly confess, is the One who also prays for us "that they all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe, that Thou has sent me" (Jn 17:21).
The unity of faith is a necessary condition for common participation in the sacramental life of the Church, and particularly for the common celebration of the Eucharist. The fact that we have been able to make a common confession of our faith in the Incarnate Lord Jesus Christ, encourages us to go forward to identify and articulate other areas of agreement, and to examine again any divergences, real or apparent, that may seem to stand in the way of restoring communion. Our common loyalty and commitment to the one Apostolic tradition of the church gives us hope that, by the grace of God, all obstacles can be overcome.
We agree that the life of the Triune God, which is communion in love, is the prototype and source of true Christian unity and of ecclesial-eucharistic communion. The Church itself which is communion in Christ by the Holy Spirit, is the great sacramental mystery by which the whole creation is brought into communion with the Triune God.
The Holy Eucharist is the central experience and summit of communion, and unfortunately also the place where our divisions are most evident, and where our witness to the world is most clearly impaired by our disunity. It is important therefore to remove all obstacles to communion, so that our witness to the world may be one.
Communion in the Church is both in the Holy Spirit who creates the communion and indwells it, and also in the sacramental mysteries of the Church. This unity is a lived unity, marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit and by common adherence to the same faith, same sacramental life, and same Apostolic ministry.
All of us agree that the unity of the Church involves communion among many churches united by the same faith and the same sacramental-ministerial structure of the church. But there are obvious divergences in our perception of how that ecclesial structure is to be manifested. These divergences will need to be examined, in order to remove all obstacles to restoring communion.
A variety of liturgical forms, sacramental practices, disciplinary procedures, and streams of theological and spiritual traditions, co-exist within the Roman Catholic Communion. These are no impediment to communion. Communion does not demand uniformity in all respects. The Malankara Catholic Church is almost identical with the Malankara Orthodox Church in their liturgical and canonical practices, and yet they are not in communion. The reasons need to be studied, and the conditions for restoring communion to be made more precise.
H.E. Bishop Pierre Duprey (Co-chairman)
H.G. Archbishop Mar Joseph Powathil
H.G. Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry
H.E. Bishop Patrick D'Souza
H.G. Mar Cyril Baselios
Monsignor Gérard Daucourt
Rev. Fr. Dr. Mathew Vellanickal
Rev. Fr. Dr. Xavier Koodapuzha
Rev. Fr. Dr. Geevarghese Chediath
|Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church|
H.G. Paulos Mar Gregorios (Co-chairman)
H.G. Mathews Mar Coorilos
H.G. Philipos Mar Theophilos
H.G. Thomas Mar Athanasius
Very Rev. Fr. Ramban Theophoros
Very Rev. Fr. Ramban M.A. Mathai
Rev. Fr. Dr. Jacob Kurian
Sri P.C. Abraham
Sri Paul Mathai
(Information Service 77 (1991/II) 105-106)