Joint Committee of Orthodox and Catholic Bishops

The members of the Joint Committee of Orthodox and Roman Catholic bishops gathered for their eleventh meeting, September 30 - October 2, 1992, in Tenafly, New Jersey. They reaffirmed their commitment to these annual dialogues and their conviction that through dialogue, mutual understanding, good will and trust, they are following the teachings of the Lord. The theological dialogue at all levels is under severe strain because of recent events in eastern Europe. The Roman Catholic bishops listened with concern as the Orthodox bishops expressed their deepest reservations with the recent letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion." In their view, the letter is a sign that the Roman Catholic Church is changing its mind in regard to basic presuppositions upon which the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church meet as equal churches, manifesting the fullness of catholicity of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

As the bishop members of this dialogue committee study the history of the relationship between the two churches since the schism, they recognize that iniquities have been perpetrated by both churches (for example, the problems associated with Brest and Lviv). In this context it is important to study the recent developments in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Having recognized that transgressions and deceptions have been committed, leaders and faithful of both churches must repent and express mutual forgiveness. In this spirit, the example of Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI, whose vision continues to inspire Catholics and Orthodox alike, must not be surrendered.

With the arrival of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia in the United States, the bishops turned their thoughts to the tragic events occurring in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. They condemn the past and present manipulation of religion for advancing geopolitical and ethnic interests, which have rekindled so many deep prejudices and enmities. The bishops appealed to all in the United States to pray for the reconciliation of the peoples of that troubled region. As winter approaches, thousands of lives are endangered. The bishops expressed their support for urgent humanitarian effort in meeting the needs of all who suffer there. The applauded the actions of Orthodox and Catholic leaders, and other religious leaders, toward terminating the terrible carnage taking place in these areas.

Tenafly, New Jersey
October 2, 1992


Teachings of Christ

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Seek, my child, the nobility of the soul, for it is truth; that of the body is false. Do not seek honor from men, for this injures one; but rather, seek heavenly glory . . . . You are to be sympathetic with all the brethren and help them as much as possible; and, you are to minister to them that are unable or weak. Do not desire to live by another's labors . . . . Never ridicule anyone, and especially when they are in misfortune. When you hear that a certain brother is disorderly, supplicate God to correct his life. Visit and help the sick, and serve the brethren as their servant; so you might be a friend of Christ Who, for your sake, became a servant and minister. Always heed, my child, not to fall into temptations. However, if it happens that you should fall, immediately rise up and amend yourself with repentance, and again hasten to prayer. In this manner, live your life, my child, and God shall always come to you and help you in soul and body.

St. Theodora of Alexandria, "The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers: An Orthodox Materikon of Women Monastics and Ascetics