Thrissur (Fides Service) - Moving towards unity members of the mixed Commission of the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East approved a common statement on the Sacraments. The statement will now be examined at a higher level by the Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East and by the Holy See in September.
“This common statement on the sacraments- said Indian Metropolitan Mar Aprem, of Assyrian Church of the East - is an important step towards unity between the two Churches. I am fully aware that the Catholic Church has over 1.08 billion members while my Church is much smaller, but there is reciprocal respect and trust and this is very positive”.
Assyrian Church of the East, which has much in common with Eastern Catholic Churches of Chaldean and Syro-Malabar rites, separated from Rome in 431 AD after the Council of Ephesus. Modern day efforts to rebuild unity started in 1984. In 1994 Pope John Paul II and Mar Dinka IV Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East signed a Christological Declaration and since then theological dialogue has continued with the institution of a Commission for Theological Dialogue formed of Bishops of the Chaldean Church and Bishops of the Assyrian Church of the East.
In this new common statement on the Sacraments the Churches have a constructive approach underlining the main aspects in common.
The statement is due to be discussed by the Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East in Chicago (USA) and could be signed by Pope John Paul II and the Assyrian Patriarch next September. A third dialogue for achieving unity of the Churches will begin in November, Bishop Aprem said and he added “We hope soon to celebrate the Eucharist together”
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 9/7/2004 lines 24 words 253)