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Posted By Eric Sammons On September 4, 2009 @ 8:41 am In Eastern Christianity,Ecumenism | Comments Disabled
Pope Benedict recently urged members of an ecumenical commission that a better understanding of Western and Eastern spirituality and doctrine will promote “a better, reciprocal appreciation among all Christians “:
Common ground in Eastern and Western spirituality “is the valuable lifeblood for a broader relationship between Catholics and Orthodox,” [Pope Benedict] said.
The pope’s remarks came in a written message to Catholic and Orthodox participants in an inter-Christian symposium Sept. 3-5 in Rome. The message, addressed to Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was released by the Vatican Sept. 3.
The pope said the symposium’s focus this year on St. Augustine [he's everywhere!] in Eastern and Western traditions was important for learning more about Christian theology and spirituality in the West and East and how they developed.
While the fourth-century saint and theologian was of fundamental importance in influencing theology and culture in the West, “the reception of his thinking by orthodox theology turned out to be rather problematic,” said the pope in his written message, which was read at the symposium’s opening session.
That should be an interesting symposium. In the East, Augustine is considered by many as the cause of many of the West’s “problems.” His theology of the Trinity led in many ways to the acceptance of the filioque in the West, and his teachings on predestination and the role of grace in the believers’ life are seen by many as contradictory to the synergistic view of salvation commonly taught in the East. It is Eastern practice to refer to Augustine as “Blessed Augustine,” not St. Augustine, and I’ve often said that never was the term “Blessed” used in a more derogatory tone than when some people put it before the name Augustine.
But I hope and pray that this symposium will find a good deal of common ground between East and West in the life and writings of this great saint. Those interested in this topic would likely be interested in reading The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church  by Seraphim Rose, which is a sympathetic reading of Augustine by an Orthodox monk of the 20th century.
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/09/04/valuable-lifeblood/
URLs in this post:
 a better, reciprocal appreciation among all Christians: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0903965.htm
 The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church: http://www.amazon.com/Blessed-Augustine-Orthodox-Church-Theological/dp/0938635123/
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