CWNews.com - The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, chaired by Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, continued to work on a statement on the steps towards unity during its recent June 1-3 meeting in Massachusetts. The statement, entitled “Steps Towards a United Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future,” will briefly outline “the history of divergences between Catholics and Orthodox, especially with regard to the role of the Bishop of Rome in the Church, according to a press release issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas. It will also outline “all that the two churches share and notes that overcoming differences has become a matter of urgency. The text also reflects on what a reunited Catholic and Orthodox Church might would look like, the ecclesial structures needed to facilitate such unity, and the questions that remain to be answered if such a reconciliation is to take place.”

Last year, the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation abandoned the diplomatic language typical of ecumenical pronouncements and issued a candid critique of the 2007 “Ravenna document,” a modest milestone in Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical relations.

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Teachings of Christ

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Seventh Ecumenical Council

O Christ our God, You are most glorious, * for You established our Fathers as lights upon the earth * and through them led us to the true faith. * O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The Son Who shone forth ineffably from the Father * was born two-fold in nature. * Beholding Him, we do not refuse the image of his form, * but piously depicting it, we honor it faithfully. * Therefore the Church, holding fast to the true faith, * kisses the icon of the incarnation of Christ. (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Troparia of the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council)

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Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We ought to learn the virtues through practicing them, not merely through talking about them, so that by acquiring the habit of them we do not forget what is of benefit to us. 'The kingdom of God', St. Paul says, 'resides not in words but in power' (I Cor. 4:20). For he who tries to discover things through actual practice will come to understand what gain or loss lies in any activity that he pursues..."

St. Peter of Damaskos (Book 1:A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 183)