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Preparatory Meeting for the 14th Session of the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission
Joensuu, Finland, 3-8 October 2007. COMMUNIQUE.

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The Preparatory Meeting for the 14th Session of the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Commission was held from 3-8 October 2007, at the Orthodox Seminary in Joensuu, Finland, and was hosted by the Finnish Orthodox Church.

Participants in the meeting were from the Orthodox side: Metropolitan Prof. Dr. Gennadios of Sassima, Ecumenical Patriarchate (Co-Chair); the V. Revd. Prof. Dr. George D. Dragas, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem; the Revd. Prof. Dr. Viorel Ionita, Patriarchate of Romania; Prof. Dr. Christos Voulgaris, Church of Greece; the Revd. Prof. Dr. Vaclav Jezek, Orthodox Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia, the Revd. Deacon Theodoros Meimaris, Ecumenical Patriarchate, (Co-Secretary), and from the Lutheran side: Bishop Donald McCoid (Co-Chair), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Prof. Dr. Kenneth Appold, Institute for Ecumenical Research, Strasbourg, France; Revd. Prof. Antti Raunio, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and Prof. Dr. Kathryn L. Johnson, The Lutheran World Federation (Co-Secretary). Organizer of the meeting was Revd. Prof. Rauno Pietarinen (Director of the Orthodox Seminary in Joensuu), assisted by Revd. Bogdan Grosu.

The theme currently being studied by the Joint Commission is: The Mystery of the Church:
D. The Holy Eucharist in the Life of the Church.

From the Lutheran side papers were presented by Bishop Dr. Donald J. McCoid on “Holy Communion: Preparation and Practice in the Lutheran Tradition” and by Revd. Prof. Antti Raunio on “The Social and Ethical Aspects of the Eucharist.” On the Orthodox side papers were presented by V. Revd. Prof. Dr George D. Dragas on “Preparation for Participation in the Canonical Celebration of the Divine Eucharist” and Revd. Prof. Dr. Vaclav Jezek on “Thine own of Thine Own We Offer to the Thee: A Possible Orthodox Eucharistic Ecological Theology.”

The papers presented provided theological expositions of Orthodox and Lutheran teaching on this theme, as well as specifications of commonalities and differences between the teachings of the two partners. After discussion of the papers a draft of a Common Statement was developed. The draft was welcomed, further elaborated, and affirmed by the Preparatory Meeting. It will be circulated, together with the papers presented, as material for the 2008 Plenary Meeting of the Commission.

On Wednesday, 3 October the Vice-rector of the University of Joensuu Teuvo Pohjolainen and the Vice Dean of the Theological Faculty Joensuun Yliopisto offered the members an official dinner with a PowerPoint presentation on the life and activities of the University and the faculty. Mayor Juhani Meriläinen welcomed the commission to City Hall on 5 October, and he and members of this staff shared with them insights about the history of Joensuu and the relation of church and state in Finland. On Thursday 4 October, Metropolitan Gennadios paid a visit to the H.E. Archbishop Leo of Karelia and all Finland, in the Lintula Nuns Covent, where the Abbess Marina offered to Metropolitan Gennadios an official lunch and he had the opportunity to address the Community. Later on he paid also a visit to New Valamo Monastery and was received with great generosity by the Abbott the V. Revd. Archimandrite Sergei. The participants had the opportunity on Sunday morning to assist at the Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. John the Theologian at the Seminary where Metropolitan Gennadios presided at the Liturgy, followed by a meeting with the local community and the students. In the afternoon the participants paid a visit to the Lintula and New Valamo monasteries.

The participants much appreciated the hospitality extended by the Orthodox Church in Finland and were grateful for the efficiency and friendliness of the venue. The next Plenary Meeting of the Commission is scheduled to take place from 30 May (arrival) to 7 June (departure) 2008, in a location still to be determined at a later stage.

Joensuu, 7 October 2007