Ecumenical Delegation to Visit Armenia to Bond East-West Church Relations

8/18/2005 7:46:17 AM

A five-member ecumenical delegation is set to visit Armenia from Aug. 24 to Sep. 1, 2005. The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, will take part in this visit.

A five-member ecumenical delegation is set to visit Armenia from Aug. 24 to Sep. 1, 2005. The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, will take part in this visit which has been organised by the Canadian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church. This comes in response to an invitation by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, to visit the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

It will be recorded as the first ever visit to Armenia by a delegation from Canada. The delegation, Led by the Primate of the Canadian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, Bishop Bagrat Galstanian, will discuss the role and mission of Christian churches in the future and cooperation between the churches in the East and West.

Other members of the delegation are include Archbishop Sotirios, Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Canada, Archbishop Brendan O’Brien, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and Professor Richard Schneider, President of the Canadian Council of Churches.

The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin is located near Yerevan, the capital city of the Republic of Armenia. The Mother see is the pre-eminent centre of authority in the worldwide Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church.

The Armenian Orthodox Church is a member of the Orthodox family of churches which includes Coptic, Syrian, Armenian, Ethiopian, Eritrean and the (Indian) Malankara. The Anglicans and the Oriental family are currently in the midst of theological dialogue, which follows an agreed statement on Christology in November 2002 reached by the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission.

Recommendations of the Lambeth Conferences of 1988 and 1998 stemmed formal dialogue between the Anglicans and the Eastern Orthodox churches. Talks were also sparked by the decisions of the Oriental Orthodox Churches that the Anglican-Orthodox dialogue be upgraded from a forum, in 1985 to 1993, to a commission.

Relationships between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Canadian Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church goes back 125 years, when the Anglicans offered the liturgical space and hospitality in Anglican churches to the Armenians during the absence of Armenian sanctuaries.

The relationship between the Armenian Orthodox Church and the Canadian Anglicans has been strengthened to become recognised more through the Scholarship of St. Basil the Great, which is administered by the Anglican Foundation. The scholarship was established by retired bishop of Diocese of Ontario, Bishop Henry Gordon Hill, with means to facilitate exchange between members of the Anglican Church of Canada and members of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Assyrian Church of the East.

Daniel Blake welcomes comments by email at daniel@christiantoday.com.