BROOKLINE, MA (June 5, 1998) -- Baptism and its relation to ecclesiology was the main theme of the 54th meeting of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, held here June 2-4.
Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee and His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of Ainou, Bishop of Pittsburgh, co-chaired the meeting, which took place at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
The theme of baptism and its relation to ecclesiology is part of a continuing discussion between the churches of mutual recognition of sacraments. Metropolitan Maximos delivered a paper entitled "The Meaning of Christian Baptism for the Baptized and the Church." Father George Berthold spoke on "Baptism in the West" while Professor John Erickson presented a study entitled "Baptism and the Church's Faith." Father John Long, SJ, gave an overview of the theology of baptism found in the documents of the international and North American Orthodox-Catholic dialogues as well as other ecumenical documents.
This meeting brought to a conclusion the intensive study the Consultation has made on the relationship between baptism and ecclesiology. The discussions ended in general agreement that it would be possible to work toward a joint statement on this topic. It was decided that a draft text would be prepared for the next meeting, to be held October 29-31, 1998, at St. Paul's College, Washington, D.C. The Consultation will also discuss the Aleppo Document, a recent proposal on a common date for Easter.
This meeting was the first at which the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops was officially represented. The Consultation also welcomed a new member from Canada, Father Peter Galadza of the Sheptytsky Institute, St. Paul University, Ottawa.
The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation has met regularly since 1965 and was the first officially established dialogue between the two Churches anywhere in the world. The Consultation is sponsored by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB), and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
In addition to the two co-chairs, the members of the Consultation are, from the Catholic Church: Rev. Brian E. Daley, SJ, Rev. Msgr. Frederick McManus, Rev. George C. Berthold, Prof. Thomas E. Bird, Rev. Peter Galadza, Rev. John P. Galvin, Sister Donna Geernaert, SC, Rev. Sidney H. Griffith, ST, Rev. John F. Long, SJ, Rev. David M. Petras, Prof. Robin Darling Young, Rev. Ronald G. Roberson, CSP (staff); from the Orthodox Church: Rev. Thomas E. FitzGerald, Archbishop Peter, Rev. Nicholas Apostola, Prof. Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Rev. Alkiviadis Calivas, Rev. James Dutko, Prof. John H. Erickson, Rev. Alexander Golitzin, Rev. Emmanuel Gratsias, Dr. Robert Haddad, Rev. Stylianos Harakas, Prof. Lewis Patsavos, Rev. Paul W.S. Schneirla, Rev. Robert Stephanopoulos, Rev. George D. Dragas (staff).