From June 17-24, 2015, Dr. Paul Meyendorff, The Father Alexander Schmemann Professor of Liturgical Theology at St. Vladimir's, attended the inaugural meeting of the new Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Held at the Caraiman Monastery in Busteni, Romania, the meeting brought together 49 theologians from across the world representing Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Churches. Much of the gathering was spent in planning for the work of the Commission, whose term lasts until 2020.
St. Vladimir's Trustee the Right Reverend Maxim (Vasiljevic), bishop of the Western American Diocese, Serbian Orthodox Church of North and South America, also participated in the meeting as a member of the Commission.
His Beatitude Daniel, archbishop of Bucharest, metropolitan of Muntenia and Dobrudgea, and a former staff member of the Commission, met with the group on Monday, June 22, and shared his memories from his time working with the Commission in Geneva.
Members at the meeting were assigned to one of three working groups tasked with addressing particular theological themes: Justice and Peace, Ecclesiology, and Moral Discernment. Professor Meyendorff will be working with the second group, whose primary responsibility will include receiving and analyzing responses to a 2013 convergence text on ecclesiology, entitled "The Church: Toward a Common Vision." Based on these responses, the group will then identify and begin working on theological issues that require further work and reflection.
The Faith and Order Commission, charged with doing the theological work of the WCC, includes many representatives from Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. St. Vladimir's has historically been well-represented since the 1950s, with former deans Frs. Georges Florovsky, John Meyendorff, and Thomas Hopko playing leading roles. Dr. Meyendorff has been a member of the Commission since 2004. "The Commission offers an excellent opportunity to meet and collaborate with important theologians from across the Christian world," Dr. Meyendorff noted upon his return.