“Listening to the East” – Synodality in the Syriac Orthodox and Church of the East Traditions

A Synodal Process on Synodality (2021-2024) has been initiated by Pope Francis in the Catholic Church.

PRO ORIENTE and the INSTITUTE FOR ECUMENICAL STUDIES of the Angelicum are contributing to this process by organizing international conferences in Rome with the purpose of knowing the synodal traditions from the different Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Which decisions are made in a synodical manner by the communion of bishops or members of individual synods and bind the respective patriarch? How are non-clerics, women and men involved in decision-making processes? What perspectives do young people bring to such processes? Internationally recognized theologians and young people from the Eastern Orthodox and ancient Oriental churches will make their presentations regarding these questions and consequently, make their experiences of synodal theology, church practice and the spirituality of Synodality available to the current worldwide synod of the Catholic Church. This will further encourage an ecumenical exchange on these topics. The project in question has been running since January 2022 and is expected to end in mid-2023.

Two preparatory groups are entrusted with the concrete planning. The groups are composed of members of the relevant PRO ORIENTE commissions. The Conference on Synodality in the Eastern Orthodox Churches is being prepared by members of the Commission for Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue, while the Conferences on Synodality in the Syriac and Oriental Churches by members of the Forum Syriacum and the Commission for the Oriental-Catholic Dialogue (CEE).

The results of all three conferences will be presented in the form of a documentary film produced in various languages and broadcasted on television. Additionally, the conference proceedings will be published in a book format.

The project is under the joint patronage of two Vatican bodies: the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. This ensures that it is well embedded in the synodal process and in the preparation of the Roman Synod of Bishops in October 2023.

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