SYNDEMOS Final Document
Consultation on co-operation between Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Youth Movements, 1991
We, 25 youth representatives from Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches in 11 different countries, met in St Bishoy monastery, Egypt, 20-26 May, 1991. This meetimg was made possible with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch and Pope Shenouda III and of His Holiness Patriach and Pope Parthenios III and by the gracious hospitality of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Bishoprics of Youth, and Public, Ecumenical and Social Services.
We rejoice in the fact that our Churches haveGod’s will, in the official dialogue, “clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of the Apostolic Tradition that should be the basis of our unity and communion”. (Second Agreed Statement of the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches, Chambesy, Switzerland, 23-28 September 1990). In accordance with the recommendation on pastoral questions of this official dialogue and the resolution made by the XIII SYNDESMOS General Assembly (Boston, USA, 1989) SYNDESMOS convened this Consultation, with the aim of enabling Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox youth movements to support the imminent re-establishment of communion between our Churches.
During the Consultation we heard three presentations which provided the basis for our deliberations: Metropolitan Damaskinos of Switzerland spoke on the History and Progress of the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches; Bishop Moussa, Coptic Orthodox Bishop for Youth, and Metropolitan George (Khodr) of Byblos and Batroun both spoke on Challenges for Co-operation of Pastoral Questions. We discussed these two themes in groups: How can SYNDESMOS support, at the youth level, the official dialogue between the two families of Churches? We shared a common worship life reflecting our varied liturgical traditions.
We agreed that youth should participate in making the official theological agreed statements an ecclesial reality. This can be achieved initially by informing our young people of the results of the official dialogue between our Churches, which, in turn, will help the Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox youth to know and love each other better, and to live their common faith together, thus preparing themselves for the restoration of communion.
We agreed to make the following recomendations:
1. That all Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox youth movements prepare their members for the imminent communion of our Churches through information, common activities and close co-operation. This is particularly important in those regions where our Churches co-exist.
2. That SYNDESMOS publish and distribute information about the official dialogue. This information could take the form of a booklet containing a short history of the Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches and their youth movements, and a chapter summarizing the history of the dialogue between our Churches up to the recent agreed statements.
3. That SYNDESMOS actively encourage the close co-operation on a local and regional level of youth movements of both families of our Churches. This co-operation could take the form of regional and local committees, retreats with biblical and liturgical studies and discussions on these themes of Tradition and renewal.
4. That SYNDESMOS initiate a programme of contacts and exchanges between students and teachers of Theology from both families of Churches.
5. That SYNDESMOS amend its Constitution to allow Oriental Orthodox youth movements and theological schools to become full affiliate members of SYNDESMOS, thereby enabling these movements to participate fully in the decision making of SYNDESMOS.
As the Consultation concluded on the day of Pentecost, we thanked God who through His Holy Spirit had brought us together in our common Orthodox Faith, and guided us in an atmosphere of Hope and Love.