Adapted from the Church of Ireland
The Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Michael Jackson, is the new co-chairman of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC). The commission strives to build unity between an Orthodox communion of about 60 million people and the Anglican Communion, with a membership of about 85 million, primarily through identifying points of agreement in doctrine and church order.
Jackson succeeds Bishop Gregory Cameron of St. Asaph, Wales, who helped lead the commission for nine years. His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, is the commission’s other chairman.
The commission meets annually and issues a communiqué each fall about its discussions. Its larger work is to issue “agreed statements,” which involve years of dialogue and identify what both communions can affirm.
The commission has issued three agreed statements — on “Christology,” “The Procession and Work of the Holy Spirit,” and “The Inheritance of Ecumenical Councils” — since its founding in 2001. It is now exploring “Authority in the Church.”
The agreed statement on the Holy Spirit directly addressed the Filioque clause of the Nicene Creed, which has long been a point of difference in the liturgies of Orthodox Christians and Western Christians.
“We recognize that the original text of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 does not include the clause referring to the procession of the Holy Spirit, as from the Father and the Son (Filioque), but only from the Father. We acknowledge that the insertion of this clause was done unilaterally by the Church in the Latin West, without the authority of an Ecumenical Council, and inherited by the Anglican Tradition,” the agreed statement says.
“Following the Moscow Agreed Statement of 1976, Anglicans agree that ‘The Filioque clause should not be included in this Creed.’”
Archbishop Jackson expressed gratitude to help lead such discussions for the future.
“I feel honored to be invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to serve as Anglican co-chair of the Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission,” Archbishop Jackson said. “The dialogue is something of which I have been privileged to be part since 2002. Throughout that period, we have addressed a wide range of issues of importance to the various traditions involved in the dialogue.”
Archbishop Angaelos said: “As Oriental Orthodox members of the commission, we extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Bishop Gregory, and look forward to continuing our work with His Grace Archbishop Michael Jackson as Anglican co-chair, who has been a valued member of the commission since its establishment.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury praised Archbishop Jackson’s ecumenical work.
“Archbishop Michael has vast ecumenical and Anglican Communion experience and has been a member of AOOIC since its beginning,” Archbishop Justin Welby said. “The deepening friendship between Anglicans and Oriental Orthodox brings me great joy, and I pray that this may continue to grow with God’s help, and that the work of AOOIC may be a blessing to us all as we seek to achieve the unity which Christ wills.”
Jackson is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and St. John’s College, Cambridge. His doctoral thesis was on “Prayer and Miracle in the Spirituality of St. Augustine of Hippo.” He was ordained a deacon in 1986 and a priest in 1987. He became Bishop of Clogher in 2002, after his election by the House of Bishops in 2001.
He was elected Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough in February 2011 and was enthroned in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, on May 8 of that year.