Joint Committee Of Orthodox And Catholic Bishops Convenes,
Talks About Unity and Pastoral Issues
The Joint Committee of Orthodox and Catholic Bishops and North-American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation convened on May 31-June 2, 2017, at the Saint John’s Inn in Plymouth, Michigan. The purpose of the Joint Committee is to contribute to the restoration of full communion between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.
The Joint Committee is the second formal gathering of Orthodox and Catholic bishops blessed and supported by both churches, and is co-chaired by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., of Boston, and Metropolitan Methodios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston.
In their working sessions, the bishops addressed together the topics related to the pastoral life and witness of the churches. Among the common statements that the Joint Committee has issued, include: Ordination (1988), Pastoral Statement on Orthodox/Roman Catholic Marriages (1990), and on Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue at the Dawn of the New Millennium (2000).
The first day of meetings started with the liturgical service of Orthodox Matins served by His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. Following the formal opening of plenary session, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston and Archbishop of Detroit Mosr Rev. Allen Vigneron welcomed the hierarchs and members of the North-American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation to the annual meeting, expressing hope and desire that a comprehensive agenda for the meetings, addressing various social and moral issues of our society will result in closer cooperation of the Churches in addressing the steps of practical pastoral ministry.
The delegation of the Orthodox Church consisted of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios (Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston), His Eminence Archbishop Daniel (Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA), His Grace Bishop Demetrios (Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, IL), His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas), His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek (Diocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania – Orthodox Church of America), Archimandrite Nathaniel (Director of Inter-Orthodox and Ecumenical Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America) and Very Rev. Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald (Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston).
The delegation of the Catholic Church consisted of Most Rev. Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit; Bishop Emeritus of Orange – Most Rev. Tod D. Brown; Bishop Emeritus of Gary – Most Rev. Dale Melczek; Bishop of Phoenix – Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted; Bishop of the Eparchy of Newton – Most Rev. Nicholas J. Samra, as well as director of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs – Rev. Ronald G. Roberson, CSP.
The Joint Committee was established in 1981 by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America, now the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, and by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The complete texts of the Joint Committee's Statements can be found at: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/index.cfm