Professor Meyendorff Attends Significant Orthodox-Catholic Theological Meeting

2–4 June 2014 • Faculty Travels • Dr. Paul Meyendorff

In early June The Father Alexander Schmemann Professor of Liturgical Theology Dr. Paul Meyendorff traveled to New Hampshire for the 86th Meeting of the North America Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, held at the St. Methodius Faith and Heritage Center of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston. Also attending the meeting was The Very Rev. John Erickson, former St. Vladimir's dean and Peter N. Gramowich Professor of Church History, Emeritus. 

The group continued its ongoing deliberations on the roles of clergy and laity, and also discussed the conciliar nature of the Church. In addition, the Consultation approved a statement affirming the value of a married clergy in the Eastern tradition.

The statement was particularly significant given not only the obstacles that Eastern Catholic Churches have faced in maintaining this practice both in their homelands and in North America, but also given the context of the ongoing debates on this issue within Roman Catholicism as well.

"This action would affirm the ancient and legitimate Eastern Christian tradition (of married clergy) and would assure the Orthodox that, in the event of the restoration of full communion between the two churches, the traditions of the Orthodox Church would not be questioned," the statement noted.

The Consultation drew the attention of The New York Times. Journalist Michael Paulson noted in his June 6, 2014 story that the request to allow married clergy "carries significant weight because it comes from the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, whose Catholic members are appointed by the conferences of bishops in the United States and Canada." 

The Consultation also began to make plans for 2015, when participants will mark the 50th anniversary of the dialogue.