His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, spoke of a “dialogue of love” between the two faiths and the potential for increased unity in a historic address to the Fall General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Archbishop Elpidophoros said he had “heartfelt joy” being with his “brother bishops of the USCCB,” and that the occasion marked the first time in the history of the United States that Orthodox leadership had been present at the USCCB’s general assembly. He was joined by several other Orthodox bishops who were present as observers.
Archbishop Jose Gomez, the president of the USCCB, and Bishop David Talley, chairman of the committee on ecumenical and interreligious affairs, arranged for the Orthodox delegation to join the assembly. Archbishop Gomez invited Archbishop Elpidophoros to address the assembly.
Archbishop Elpidophoros quoted Patriarch Bartholomew’s address to the Ecumenical Reception at the National Council of Churches, where the patriarch stated that a “dialogue of love” between the faiths was the future for the two Churches, and that the 21st century “should become the century of the restoration of unity”.
Continuing, he said that “Since 1965 — at the happy coincidence of the reestablishment of Catholic-Orthodox relations and the Second Vatican Council — this Consultation has produced thirty-two documents, reports, and statements. Some of them became real references for theologians, and for our Churches to walk together towards unity”.
These writings, he said, are the “real fruits” of the collaboration between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, fruits that serve to “nourish both our communities”.