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28 August 1999

Protestant-Orthodox Dialogue in the WCC

Nearly 75 Central Committee members, staff and journalists attended a padare discussion Friday morning on the dialogue between Orthodox and Protestant members of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The discussion was one of 10 padares offered on a wide variety of issues Friday between morning and afternoon plenary sessions of the WCC Central Committee. "Padare," a Shona word for meeting place, is a model for discussion and education used at the WCC's Eighth Assembly last December in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The padare was moderated by Bishop Rolf Koppe (Evangelical Church in Germany) and Dr. Gabriel Habib (Christian Orthodox Church of Antioch).

H.G. Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim (Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East) cautioned participants about raising too high their hopes for the dialogue. "Some suggest we will end up as one church united and I do not think this is very realistic," he said. "But the difficulty on agreeing on theological and dogmatic points should not stop us from exploring other points."

"On the Orthodox side, we have to accept that we are in a dialogue to learn, not only to teach," Karim said. "We have a tendency to tell others the meaning of this and that rather than to listen. Others have valid points and ways of understanding the issues we are talking about."

Minutes of the Padare on "Towards a Protestant-Orthodox Dialogue within the WCC"

For more information contact:
Karin Achtelstetter, Media Relations Officer
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6153 (office);
e-mail: media
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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 336, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.