Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches

Meeting of the Executive, 24-27 May 2018

Archdiocese of Targoviste, Romania


Cooperation in peace building and the ecumenical challenge and opportunity posed by migrants and refugees, were on the agenda of the meeting of the Executive of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) on 24 – 27 May in Targoviste, Romania. Metropolitan Nifon of Targoviste graciously hosted the group in his Archdiocese. He is co-moderator of the Joint Working Group (JWG) together with the Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, Diarmuid Martin.

The former capital of Wallachia from the 15th to the 17th centuries, with its churches and monasteries, preserves important architectural and historic treasures such as the first print of the Holy Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox tradition in 1508.Visits to the Stelea and Dealu monasteries nearby provided insights into the history and the present challenges and opportunities for the Orthodox mission and ministry in Romania. A Vesper Service in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Targoviste with the presence of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bucharest, Ioan Robu, and the participation of many young people showed the vitality of the church and its ecumenical commitment.

The group also had the privilege of meeting His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania, which was an outstanding occasion for stimulating and inspiring discussion benefiting from the great experience and wisdom of the Patriarch.

As the group continues working on documents on peace-building and migration, it welcomed the ongoing cooperation between the WCC and the Holy See Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in preparation of a conference on Migration, Xenophobia, and politically motivated Populism on 17-20 September this year in Rome.

Other agenda items were the next Joint Working Group Plenary meeting in September this year in Augsburg, Germany, and the forthcoming visit of Pope Francis to the WCC on June 21. The JWG Executive is convinced that the visit of Pope Francis to the WCC will be a unique event which will encourage cooperation between the member churches of the WCC and the Catholic Church not only at the international level, but also at regional and national levels. “Walking, praying and working together”, the motto of the visit, resonates with Pope Francis’ emphasis on journeying together as Christians following Christ and the WCC’s call to join in a pilgrimage of justice and peace. The JWG will take time at its next plenary meeting to evaluate the impact of the visit and to analyze the opportunities that will be opening up.