A two day observance of the 50th Anniversary, 1965, Consultation was an enormous success. The event was held at the Jesuit St. Louis University on October 9th and 10th and featured speakers from the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Faiths.
Sponsors of the auspicious event were St. Louis University and the St. Irenaeus Orthodox Theological Institute. Among the invited guests were His Eminence Metropolitan Tarasios of Buenos Aries and South America and Fr. Brian Daley, S.J., Professor of Religion at Notre Dame, also including several Greek Orthodox students working on their Ph.D. in religion.
Remarks by Mr. Jacob J. Praklow were poignant and to the point, “Christians must adopt to advance in information technology and utilize those advances for the sake of sharing the gospel”. Orthodox and Catholic Christians must commit themselves to moving emotionally and rhetorically driven inline exchanges. We must drive ourselves to be the change we want to see in dialogue, to commit ourselves to seek greater and substantive understanding of others. Orthodox and Catholic Christians ought to intentionally foster “coordination seeking unity” through engagement with communities-online and otherwise-that encourage meaningful Orthodox-Catholic unity. This step requires stretching our comfort zones and changing our mindsets to prioritize intentional interaction with Christians outside our own parishes and denominations, a forum dedicated to the kind of charitable Orthodox-Catholic dialogue that Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I called for fifty years ago.
Ms. Becky Walker, a religious graduate student at SLU opined “How-much is the present divided state of the church due to questions over doctrine and how much is due to resentment over past wounds? The words of Optatus admonish us, “without doubt it is evil to do anything against a prohibition, but it is worse not to have unity when you can… for the sake of unity sins should be buried, since the most blessed apostle Paul says that charity can cover a multiple of sins.”
The Reverend Brian E. Daly, S.J. in speaking on the “sole dogmatic grounds for the separation of East and West”: to the Orthodox, it savors of Western rationalism, Papal authoritarianism and “Christo monism” – the Western Christian tendency to emphasize the centrality of Christ at the expense of the more mysterious, less concretely imaginable role of God’s Holy Spirit, “which blows where it will (john 3.8); to Catholics, it embodies the reluctance of Orthodoxy to accept doctrinal development or liturgical adaptation, its fixation on early Greek formulations of doctrine, and its apparent disdain for the alternative traditions of the great theologians of the West. To both, it has remained a scandal and a continuing justification for continuing to go our separate ways”. It should be noted that Fr. Daley, a long member of the North American Orthodox Catholic Theological Consultation, will be attending this years’ meeting, October 22 – 24, 2015, at St. Spyridon Cathedral and Assumption College in Worcester, MA.
On Sunday evening at the St. Nicholas Family Center a testimonial was given in honor of His Eminence Tarasios, He was honored for his work in organizing and directing the reestablishment of Orthodox in the vast continent of South America. In his presentation he related his experiences in his work in South America, how difficult it is to cover such an area where few Orthodox reside. His vigor, stamina and enthusiasm endeared all in attendance and many thought he exemplified the future of the Orthodox Church and that he would be rewarded with higher offices and appointments.
The weekend came to a close with a resounding vote of satisfaction with the subject “that there May be one” and prayers that ecumenism thrive to achieve unity of the Orthodox and Catholic faiths.
Participating in the weekend events were: Michael Tsichlis, chairman of The St. Irenaeus Orthodox Theological Institute; Ph.D. student at SLU Zachary L. Kostopoulos; Fr. Douglas Papulis of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church; Daniel Robinson; Blake Hartung; Jacob Praklow; Ian J Hagan; Becky Walker and T. Alexander Gittner.