The Eastern Christian Churches by Ronald Roberson

1990: Malankara

June 3, 1990.

The Joint International Commission for dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India met for the first time from 22 to 25 October 1989 at Kottayam (Kerala), India. The members of this commission unanimously adopted a common text concerning their faith in the mystery of the Incarnate Word in order to put an end to the Christological disagreement which existed between the two Churches. This doctrinal agreement, which appears below, was submitted to the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, who have approved it and decided that it should be made public on 3 June 1990, the feast of Pentecost.

1. In our first meeting which was characterized by a spirit of concord, mutual trust, fraternal love and desire to overcome division and misunderstandings inherited from the past, we found our common ground in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith, held by the one and undivided Church of the early centuries, the faith in Christ always affirmed by both sides.

2. Above all we thank the Lord Our God for having brought us together for a cordial and sincere dialogue on some doctrinal and pastoral problems which can stand in the way of our mutual ecclesial relations and communion.

3. In this atmosphere we have worked out this brief statement to be submitted to our respective church authorities for their approval, wherein we seek to express our common understanding of, and our common witness to the great and saving mystery of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God Incarnate; we hope, this statement can lead us to the restoration of full communion between our churches. Our work was made much easier by the painstaking documentation and detailed discussions held at an unofficial level by our theologians during the past twenty-five years.

4. We affirm our common faith in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, the Eternal Logos of God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit from the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. We believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, is true God and true man. The Word of God has taken a human body with a rational soul, uniting humanity with divinity.

5. Our Lord Jesus Christ is one, perfect in his humanity and perfect in his divinity – at once consubstantial with the Father in his divinity, and consubstantial with us in his humanity. His humanity is one with his divinity – without change, without commingling, without division and without separation. In the Person of the Eternal Logos Incarnate are united and active in a real and perfect way the divine and human natures, with all their properties, faculties and operations.

6. Divinity was revealed in humanity. The Glory of the Father was manifest in the flesh of the Son. We saw the Father’s love in the life of the suffering Servant. The Incarnate Lord died on the Cross that we may live. He rose again on the third day, and opened for us the way to the Father and to eternal life.

7. All who believe in the Son of God and receive him by faith and baptism are given power to become children of God. Through the Incarnate Son into whose body they are integrated by the Holy Spirit, they are in communion with the Father and with one another. This is the heart of the mystery of the Church, in which and through which the Father by His Holy Spirit renews and reunites the whole creation in Christ. In the Church, Christ the Word of God is known, lived, proclaimed and celebrated.

8. It is this faith which we both confess. Its content is the same in both communions; in formulating that content in the course of history, however, differences have arisen, in terminology and emphasis. We are convinced that these differences are such as can co-exist in the same communion and therefore need not and should not divide us, especially when we proclaim Him to our brothers and sisters in the world in terms which they can more easily understand.

9. It is the awareness of our common faith that leads us to pray that the Holy Spirit of God may remove all remaining obstacles and lead us to that common goal – the restoration of full communion between our churches.

Last Modified: 23 March 2010

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