Second Statement of the Russian Orthodox Church on the Theological Dialogue
Decisions of the Holy Synod, Moscow, Russia, December 1997
Having heard the report of the Synodal Theological Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church presented by His Eminence Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, on the history and theological pre-conditions for participation in the work of international Christian organizations and in bi-lateral dialogues between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental [non-Chalcedonian] Orthodox Churches, the blessed Bishops’ Council decided:
1. To approve the report of the Synodal Theological Commission;
4. Having considered the information on the dialogue between the Orthodox and the Oriental [non-Chalcedonian] Orthodox Churches, to welcome the spirit of fraternity, mutual understanding and common aspiration to be faithful to the Apostolic and Patristic Tradition expressed by the Joint Commission of the theological dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches in “The Second Agreed Statement and Recommendations ot the Churches” [Chambesy, Switzerland, 1990].
“The Statement” should not be regarded as a final document sufficient for the restoration of full communion between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches as it contains ambiguities in some Christological formulations. To express hope in this regard that Christological formulations should be clarified in the course of studying the questions pertaining to the restoration of church communion between the two families of Churches of the Orthodox tradition of the Orthodox Churches.
5. To note that the Russian Orthodox Church has special historical and ecclesiastical reasons and grounds to promote the success of the dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Our Church throughout her history has protected and defended the Orthodox East. An obvious example are the activities of the Imperial Palestine Society and of the Russian Orthodox Mission in Jerusalem, the works of Bishop Kyrill Naumov and Archimandrite Antonin Kapustin, the activities of Bishop Porfiry Uspensky in the cause of the reunion with the Coptic Church, of Prof. V. Bolotov of reunion with the Urmi Assyrian Nestorians, and of Prof. B. Turaev on the rapprochment with the Ethiopian Church.
6. To entrust the Holy Synod and udner its guidance the Department for External Church Relations, the Education Committee, the Department for Religious Education and Catechization, the Department for Mission and the Publications Board to develop a plan of scholarly conferences and symposiums, of the publication of theological and historical and informative nature which would help introduce clergymen and faithful of our Church to the problems and development of the theological dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox Churches.