Ecumenical Relations of the Syriac Orthodox Church
Relationships with the Assyrian Church of the East
Dialogue with the Assyrian Church of the East is more recent than that with other families of churches. The 'Syriac Dialogues' sponsored by the Pro Oriente foundation in June 1994, February 1996 (Vienna), and July 1997 (Chicago) among Churches of the Syriac tradition paved the way for theological discussions between the Syriac Orthodox Church and Assyrian Church of the East. At the 1997 meeting, it was announced that Patriarchs Ignatius Zakka I and Dinkha IV had "agreed to appoint a bilateral commission to explore ways to bring about a rapprochement between their Churches". In addition, Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV announced that the Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East held in the previous month had decided to remove from their liturgical books the anathemas and condemnations against such figures as Cyril of Alexandria and Severus of Antioch and to inaugurate a bilateral program to bring about the full ecclesial union of the two Churches (Brock et al, 2001).
On March 2, 1998, the two Patriarchs met at the Monastery of Mar Maroun in Annaya, Lebanon, and made further progress in dialogue between the two Churches. However, further dialogue became more difficult when the meeting of Oriental Orthodox Churches later that month convened by the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, Pope Shenouda, decided that all Oriental Orthodox Churches should act together in theological dialogue and not engage in bilateral discussion (See statement).http://sor.cua.edu/Ecumenism/19980311OODeclaration.html
Relationships with the Eastern (Chalcedonian) Orthodox Churches
Among all Christian Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Churches are closer to the Oriental Churches in spirituality, doctrine, and in historical experience. Dialogue with this family of Churches has the potential to be the most fruitful......................As a result of the second meeting, on 22nd July 1991, between Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I and Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim a number of important decisions were published in a statement. (Brock et al, 2001).http://sor.cua.edu/Ecumenism/19911112SOCRumOrthStmt.html
Relationships with the Roman Catholic Church
Dialogue between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church was initiated under the auspices of the Pro Oriente, an ecumenical foundation in Vienna, founded by Cardinal K+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦nig, Archbishop of Vienna in 1964. Pro Oriente initiated unofficial consultations with the Oriental Orthodox and Roman Catholic theologians in Vienna in 1971, 1976, and 1988. In 1994, the Pro Oriente constituted a Syriac Commission at its meeting in Lebanon for dialogue between eight Churches (including three Catholic rites) of Syriac tradition; three Syriac Consultations have been held in 1994 and 1996 at Vienna and in 1997 at Chicago. http://sor.cua.edu/Ecumenism/19970711SyriacConsultation.html
The Pro Oriente consultations focussing particularly on the Christological doctrines resulted in what is known today as Vienna Christological Formulations and paved the way for subsequent bilateral Christological agreements between the heads of the Churches. http://sor.cua.edu/Ecumenism/RC.html
The first of these during the reign of Patriarch Mor Ignatius Yaqub III of Antioch and Pope Paul VI of Rome resulted in a joint declaration issued in Vatican on October 27, 1971 signed by Patriarch Yaqub III and Pope Paul VI. This dialogue was continued by their Holinesses Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, and Pope John Paul II and culminated in a joint declaration on June 23, 1984 at Rome. In November 1993, the Joint Theological Commission of the Catholic and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Churches drafted an agreement on inter-church marriages, known today as the "Kerala Agreement." This was approved by Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Zakka I and released on January 25, 1994.http://sor.cua.edu/Ecumenism/19940125SOCRCMarriageAgmt.html
Relationships with the Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion has had a long relationship with the Syriac Orthodox Church both in the Middle East and in Malankara over the past two centuries. The Christian Mission Society established missions at the turn of the 19th century ostensibly to emancipate the ancient communities. The relationship became strained for various reasons and resulted eventually in the establishment of Anglican communions and other Protestant denominations among the Syrian Christians.
In November 2002, the Anglican Communion reached a consensus on Christology with the Oriental Orthodox Churches . Both Churches said they confessed that there was "one Christ, one Son, one Lord" and that "the perfect union of divinity and humanity in the incarnate Word is essential to the salvation of the human race". (See report by The Right Rev Geoffrey Rowell.)http://sor.cua.edu/Ecumenism/20021123AnglicanOORpt.html