Discussions between Lutheran and Orthodox theologians on the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church have identified areas of agreement, though they agreed considerable open questions and differences merit further discussion.
The first meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 18th Plenary Session of the International Joint Commission on the Theological Dialogue between The Lutheran World Federation and the Orthodox Church was held in Tirana, Albania, 24 September to 1 October.
The theme of the meeting was “The Place and the Role of the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church.” It was co-chaired by H.E. Metropolitan Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Bishop Dr Johann Schneider of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany.
The committee members discussed presentations on the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church, the world, baptism, ministry and the eucharist. They also prepared a common paper, based on previous statements of the commission, on the works, role and place of the Holy Spirit.
The working sessions of the committee began with prayers at the Holy Myrrh-Bearing Women Chapel. The committee visited the Monastery of the Dormition of Theotokos, at the ancient city of Apollonia, and the Tomb of the New Martyr Cosmas the Aetolian, near Fier.
On Sunday 29 September, members attended the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Tirana. The next preparatory meeting will be held 29 May to 4 June 2020 in Germany.