On December 14, 2017, the Centro Pro Unione in Rome had the honor of hosting Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia for a lecture focusing on the Catholic-Orthodox Relations following the Great and Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church held in Crete. This lecture is one of many initiatives of the Centro Pro Unione – an outreach of the Friars – to promote Ecumenical and Interreligious research and dialogue.

Fr. James Puglisi, SA, Director of the Centro Pro Unione, shared that Metropolitan Kallistos spoke about the great expectations of this synod since its preparation has taken many years. The Metropolitan expressed his disappointment that not all Orthodox churches were present since the procedure is to accept decisions only by consensus of all the churches. The event was important since it is the first time in centuries that all of the churches were able to talk and work together without the hindrance of political interferences.

Bishop Kallistos also made a comparison with the procedures of Vatican II and the Orthodox Synod. In the former case, the Catholic church operated by majority vote while for the Orthodox churches consensus is required for acceptance. He ended his presentation with a very hopeful note concerning the current dialogue between the Catholic church and the Orthodox church.

Quoting from the most recent statement of this dialogue signed earlier this year in Chieti (Italy), the issue of Papal primacy and jurisdiction was taken up. Historically, this issue has been the most difficult between the two churches. What role should the Bishop of Rome play for the unity of the Church while respecting its diversity? What are the limits of his role? He felt much progress has been made concerning this question, especially since there is convergence on the historical and theological understanding of the Pope’s ministry of unity in the first millennium.

More information about the initiatives of the Centro Pro Unione can be found here.