His Grace Mar Odisho Oraham, the Assyrian Church of the East’s Bishop of Europe, has called upon The Revd Canon Jonathan Goodall, Ecumenical Secretary of the Archbishop of Canterbury at London’s Lambeth Palace upon the invitation of the Ecumenical Secretary.
During the two-hour long meeting on Saturday 16 March, His Grace and The Revd Canon Goodall discussed relations between the Assyrian Church of the East and the Church of England as well as pathways to enhanced dialogue.
His Grace Mar Odisho was accompanied by Dr Anderson Shlemon, Chairman of the Church Council of St Mary’s Church in Ealing and Mr Andy Darmoo.
During the meeting His Grace provided an overview of the composition of the Diocese of Europe and its parishes and the Assyrian Church of the East more broadly.
His Grace expressed his hope that the Church of England would consider making a provision for placement of theological students of the Assyrian Church of the East to study in Anglican institutions in the future. At the same time, His Grace requested assistance with the use of an Anglican church facility for the faithful of the Assyrian Church of the East due to the small size of the current St Mary’s Church in Ealing, London. Revd Canon Goodall noted that he would discuss the latter request with the Anglican Archdeacon of Ealing.
Revd Canon Goodall enquired about the status of the theological dialogue between the Assyrian Church of the East and the Roman Catholic Church. His Grace noted that this formal dialogue commenced in 1994 with the signing of a Common Christological Declaration between the heads of both churches. His Grace went on to inform that in the last two months a meeting was held in Rome between representatives of both churches with a view to resuming the longstanding theological dialogue.
In response to The Revd Canon Goodall’s enquiry as to the interest of the Assyrian Church of the East in a formal dialogue with the Anglican Communion, His Grace commented that the spirit of the church is ecumenical and that with the blessings of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch, that the church is willing to participate in such dialogues with all willing churches.
His Grace also discussed previous attempts at dialogue with the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church in particular and noted that there is no difficulty envisioned in the formation of such dialogues where both parties are committed to preventing division in the Church of Christ.
His Grace Mar Odisho Oraham will be present at the enthronement of Justin Welby as Bishop of the See of Canterbury and Primate of All England, the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion on Thursday 21 March 2013 at Canterbury.