Nearly 30 religious leaders from around the world are in Buffalo for an annual meeting to discuss ecumenical relations between the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church.
It marks the first time the International Commission for the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue is being held in the United States.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Buffalo at 146 West Utica St. is hosting the weeklong event, which begin Saturday and runs through Friday.
The dialogue includes delegates from 14 Orthodox churches and 14 Anglican churches or organizations in Canada, England, Australia, Cyprus, Zimbabwe, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Greece, Scotland, Ireland, Philippines and Sri Lanka. The Orthodox Church has about 250 million followers worldwide, while the Anglican Church Communion has about 77 million members.
The Rev. Metropolitan Diokleia Kallistos Ware, an Orthodox bishop in England, is chairman of the dialogue, while the Rev. Christos B. Christakis, parish priest at Annunciation, serves as secretary, a post he’s held since 1994.
“It’s a great honor to have world leaders meet in Buffalo,” Christakis said. “More importantly, the relationship building is paramount to reinforcing similar goals within Christianity.”
The dialogue takes place each year, alternating between an Anglican and an Orthodox location. It was held in 2014 at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem. The dialogue between the two traditions first began in 1973. The International Commission was created in 1989, and previous discussions have explored the question of who may be ordained and doctrine related to the Trinity.
Ware wrote “The Orthodox Church,” one of the world’s best-selling English language books about Eastern Orthodoxy. He is presenting a series of lectures that are free and open to the public, including at 9 a.m. Saturday in Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church; at 5 p.m. Friday in the Millard Fillmore Academic Complex, Room 320 on the University at Buffalo North Campus; and at 10 a.m. Sept. 26 in Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.