Involvement of the Orthodox Church in the Ecumenical Movement in the Context of the Orthodox Participation in the World Council of Churches
Keywords:ecumenism, Orthodoxy, Orthodox Ecumenism, World Council of Churches
The main concern of the ecumenical movement is to overcome the problem connected with the schism and division among Christians. The position of the Orthodox Church is very important in this process, because of historical and other reasons. Orthodox Churches have participated in the ecumenical movement from the very beginning.
The purpose of this article is to review the historical context and to examine the main difficulties that exist in the modern ecumenical movement in relation to the Orthodox churches. As far as the structure of the Orthodox church differs from that of the Roman Catholic Church, it should be mentioned that the documents and the encyclicals on which the article is based are from autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches. Autocephalous means that there are seventeen self-governing Eastern Orthodox churches that recognize each other as canonical churches. The highest-ranking bishop is called a patriarch, archbishop, or metropolitan. These seventeen Orthodox churches share a eucharistic communion, they recognize common dogmas and common ecclesiastical traditions. Therefore, when the article attempts to express the position of the Orthodox Church, it refers to the official documents of the Orthodox churches announced at inter-Orthodox gatherings or as the encyclicals. The article examines when and why the Orthodox churches became involved in the ecumenical movement and what challenges the Orthodox Church faces in modern ecumenical organizations.