The dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches on the exercise of primacy and synodality in the Church is proceeding slowly, but without stopping. The working meeting of the Joint Committee for theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, held between 15 September and today in the Italian city of Chieti, ended with the unanimous adoption of the document entitled: “Synodality and Primacy in the First Millennium: Towards a Common Agreement in the Service of the Unity of the Church.” The meeting focused on the exercise of primacy and synodality in the Church, in front of the great Eastern schism. The result was greeted by members of the Commission with liberating applause following the deadlock at the previous meeting, held in Amman in September 2014. This was in response to the objections of many Orthodox representatives regarding a work project that is not very different from the one adopted yesterday. According to the press release issued at the end of the meeting, only the delegation representing the Georgian Orthodox Church expressed opposition to certain passages of the “Chieti document”. The 14th plenary session of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church was held from 15 to 22 September in the Italian city of Chieti. Their approval was subtitled under the subtitle “Towards a Common Agreement in the Service of the Unity of the Church.” In point 18 of the Chieti document, it is stated that the reception is based on the approval of the current authorities: there is no doubt that ecumenical progress has been made in Chieti and that the dialogue process is progressing slowly. As Gr. Andrea Palmieri, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, said, “Chieti paves the way for a new phase of dialogue, but does not clearly resolve all the issues on the table.” The Chieti Agreement is still considered a working document, and this agreement will become legal if and if the pope and the synods of the Orthodox Churches recognize and approve them. Much remains to be resolved before Catholics and Orthodox, through recognition and acceptance, fully participate in Eucharistic communion through the recognition and acceptance of the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and that not only Catholics, but also the Orthodox faithful can receive the Eucharist in Grottaferrata. What does Chieti`s agreement say about the role of the Bishop of Rome, his specific function as bishop of the “first vision” and how was this role experienced in the first millennium? The agreement can show how to “solve the problems that still exist today between Catholics and Orthodox,” said Ms. Andrea Palmieri, undersecretary of state of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is one of the main points of contention between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
He said that after talking about primacy and synodality in the first millennium, these themes are the next natural step of the second millennium and that “we must address here the question of 1054 and also the question of unitarianism, which is one of the central themes of the second millennium. I can predict that there will be many controversial issues and that we will not agree on all points. However, the purpose of our dialogue is not only to agree on the points on which we agree anyway, we must also look at the issues.