« Prev The Anglican and Protestant Episcopal Churches… Next »

IV. The Anglican and Protestant Episcopal Churches and the Orthodox Eastern and Old Catholic Churches. Communications between these 953communions and friendly approaches have been increasing since the meetings of the General Convention, 1886, and the Lambeth Conference, 1888.22612261See the Journals of the General Convention and the Reports of the Lambeth Conferences. Canon Douglas: The Relations of the Angl. Ch. with the Churches of the East, London, 1921; the "Eastern Ch. books" issued by the Faith Press, London; Bell Doc. on Christ. Unity. Unofficial efforts to bring them together are to be dated from 1863, when the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association was formed in London and, 1864, when the Church Unity Society was formed by Protestant Episcopalians. American and English delegations have vis­ited Eastern prelates—as also the Archbishop of Canterbury, 1929—and prelates of the Eastern Churches have been present at meetings of the General Convention and Lambeth Conferences and have joined in Church services in America and England. The most notable gathering was, 1925, in Westminster Abbey at the services in commemoration of the sixteen hundredth anniversary of the Nicene Council and Creed, when the Archbishop of Canterbury preached the sermon and the East was represented by 'His Holiness and Beatitude and Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria,' the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Metropolitans of Kieff and Nubia, and other dignitaries.

A commission on relations with the Eastern Churches, appointed by the General Convention, 1910, having completed the work assigned to it, was dismissed, 1925. In the meantime, 1920, the commission, meeting in New York with delegates from the East, formulated a 'Concordat or Terms of Agreement as a basis of restoration of corporate unity and intercommunion,' which were later accepted by the General Convention and by the Patriarch and Holy Synod of Constantinople and other Eastern prelates and ecclesiastical bodies. The basis included (1) the 'authority of the Catholic Church to teach what is necessary to be believed and practised for salvation'; (2) the Scriptures as interpreted by the Catholic Church; (3) the Nicene Creed and the 'decrees of faith' of the œcumenically-called Councils. The two parties also declared their acceptance of 'the sacramental acts of each other.'

As a result of the communications, the validity of Anglican orders has received recognition from the Old Catholics of Holland, Germany and Switzerland, and by the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem and other Eastern prelates, the latter with limitations given below. 954The Lambeth Conference of 1930 was visited by 'the most weighty delegation ever sent by the Orthodox Eastern Church to any Western Church,'22622262A quotation from the Report of the Com. on the Unity of the Church. A final judg­ment on the 'weight' of the delegation would require a comparison with the delegations sent from the East to the Councils of Lyons, 1274, and Ferrara, 1439. and it was agreed to appoint a Joint Theological Commission to consider their differences and agreements in the hope—to use the words of the Lambeth Encyclical Letter of 1930—that 'restoration of communion may become possible as soon as the assemblies of the various Churches can meet.' At a meeting in Lambeth Palace, July 15–18, 1930, between bishops of the English Church and Eastern prelates, seventeen articles were agreed upon as a basis of further discussion by the Joint Theological Commission and promise made that a pro-synod should be convened in the East to discuss the matter. The articles embrace limitations laid down by the Easterners.  1. In regard to the ministry. The demand that the statements of the XXXIX Articles be interpreted by the Book of Common Prayer and that ordination be accepted as a mysterion—that is, as being sacramental in its nature and conferring a charisma—was agreed to by the Anglicans.  2. In regard to the eucharist. The Anglicans granted that it is a sacrifice in the sense defined in the archbishops' letter to Leo XIII., 1897, and 'as including the whole company of faithful people, living and departed.'22632263The articles and the archbishops' letter, so far as it bore on the eucharistic sacrifice,' are given in the Lambeth Conf., vol. 136–140.

« Prev The Anglican and Protestant Episcopal Churches… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection