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Syrian Orthodox primate, Pope discuss synodality

September 11, 2023

» Continue to this story on Vatican Press Office

CWN Editor's Note: The role of the Synod is “doctrinally pivotal for the Church’s growth and spiritual well-being,” the leader of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church said during a meeting on September 11 with Pope Francis.

Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Mathews III reminded the Pontiff that the Synod of Bishops has historically played a key role in the governance of the Orthodox churches, and that role is “deeply rooted in their ecclesiastical identity.” Pope Francis replied that “we can learn much from the age-old synodal experience of your Church.” He added that he hoped the synodal process will strengthen the ecumenical movement.

Noting that the Malankara Orthodox Church traces its origin to the missionary work of St. Thomas the apostle, the Pope said: “The faith of St. Thomas was inseparable from his experience of the wounds of the Body of Christ.” Those wounds are now visible in the divisions among Christians, he continued. “Yet if we touch these wounds together,” he suggested, the path to full unity may be clear.

Pope Francis also spoke of the Christological agreement signed by representatives of the Catholic and Malankara churches in 1990, which concluded that theological differences “are such as can coexist in the same communion and therefore need not and should not divide us.”

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