The Trinity, from the Boulbon Altarpiece • Wikimedia Commons
Adapted from Gavin Drake, ACNS
The dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Oriental Orthodox Churches has reached further agreement on the theological understanding of the Holy Spirit. The Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC) met last week in Beirut to continue its discussion of the Holy Spirit. That discussion began last year in Wales.
Last year, an AOOIC communiqué recommended omitting the Filioqué — the clause and the son, which Western churches added to “who proceeds from the Father” without global consensus — from the Nicene Creed. The Anglican co-chair of the commission, the Rt. Rev. Gregory Cameron Bishop of St. Asaph, said then that it had “long been a source of contention between Western and Eastern Christians.”
The communiqué said the AOOIC “continued its reflection on the second part of its Agreed Statement on pneumatology, “The Sending of the Holy Spirit in Time (Economia).”
The new agreement says: “In a world of enforced displacement and fearful arrival; in a world of accelerated movement; in a world of war-torn fragmentation and courageous martyrdom; the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, transcends time and space and yet inhabits both. The same Spirit is sent to commission and empower the weak to be strong, the humble to be courageous and the poor to be comforted and blessed in a fallen world that is upheld by the providence and grace of God the Trinity who makes all things new in faith and hope and love.”
The Rev. Canon John Gibaut, the Anglican Communion’s director of unity, faith, and order, said the agreement “will first be sent to the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO). … Its feedback to the AOOIC, along with any Oriental Orthodox feedback, will be incorporated in a final text that could be finished in 2017, and that would be sent to ACC-17 [the Anglican Consultative Council] and/or the Lambeth Conference.”
During their meeting, members of the AOOIC discussed the plight of Christians in the Middle East and heard reports about the difficulties facing churches in Syria and Iraq, and the situation of refugees in Lebanon.
“There was a consideration of the most practical ways in which the Anglican Communion in its various countries could respond effectively to the challenges facing Christians in the Middle East,” the communiqué said.
“Members of the Commission continue to pray for the Middle East, for the victims of war, for refugees, and for all hostages. We also continue to pray for our fellow Christians, and especially the two bishops of Aleppo abducted in April 2013: Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.”