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Friday, 4 July 2008

Orthodox friends - (a) 4July2008

Synod started, as usual (after  prayers) with welcomes to ecumenical partners and new members. Then the Business Committee reports. It is traditional to have a rumpus over the agenda (and it is the Business Cttee that jugles agenda items). This time the problem was that it was understood that an item due to be on the agenda, was belatedly pulled. It was Paul Eddy's Private Member's Motion on the Uniquness of Christ.

In General Synod, debates can be brought forward by primary legislation; following reports prepared by or for Church House Westminster; through motions presented from the Diocesan Synods (sometimes from PCCs or Deanery Synods) to General Synod; and by PMMs.

Private Members Motions, rather like the House of Parliament, are produced by a member of Synod, with a motion in mind, who asks other members of Synod to sgn up under the heading; and once 100 signatures are recorded, it can come on to the Synods forthcoming agenda, time permitting.

Apparently this time, it was expected that two PMMs were due to come forward, but in the end, only one made it, apprently because of time constraints, and not the content being excluded from debate.

Visitation of Abraham

As to the first presentation and debate on Friday afternoon, it was on Anglican-Orthodox relations. After an introductory presentation by the orthodox Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon, the report/book The Chuch of the Triune God:The Cypress agreed statement of the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox theological dialogue.

There are many friendships between Anglicans and Orthodox at Synod, and many contributed to the debate. This particular debate, steeped in rich theology, was welcomed by several members as a great start to these sessions of Synod (though the implication that other synod debates may be carried out without theological foundation is unsubstantiated...!).

It is always rather fun to have our regular Ecumanical representative to Synod from the Orthodox church, Archemandrite Ephrem Lash, involved in debates. He observed that actually the image on the front of the book (not shown here) was not actually an image of the Trinity, but of the Logos and 2 angels - perhaps a more appropriate image would be the Visitation of Abraham above, known as the Old Testament Trinity.

The Church of England's most publicised ecumenical discussions are with the Roman Catholics, or the Methodists, so it is great to see these other friendships with the Orthodox, and theological discussions from them, are able to be had at such a profound level.

Alastair, GS 101

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