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Joint conference: From Conflict to Communion in Estonia.

 

Within the framework of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church in Estonia and the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church will hold a joint conference “From Conflict to Communion” on Wednesday, September 27th, 2017.

 

The conference is inspired by the document “From Conflict to Communion” (2013), which was composed by the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity as commissioned by the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Representatives of the two denominations take a look and assess jointly the history of the Reformation and its influences, the theology of Martin Luther, likewise the official ecumenical dialogue begun a half-century ago and call to proceed on the road towards the complete, visible unity of the church.

The document played an important role in the preparation of the joint Catholic and Lutheran commemoration of the Reformation and the prayer-service that took place on October 31st, 2016, in Lund which included the participation of Pope Francis and the President of the Lutheran World Federation Bishop Munib Younan as well as the General Secretary Rev. Dr. Martin Junge.

In the context of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation joint discussions at the Tallinn conference will look at the Reformation as an important event for both churches: where and why it got its beginnings, what does it mean for us today and in the future, what opportunities do we see for moving closer towards one another. From the Catholic perspective, professor Philip Goyret from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome will tie the document with a presentation on the 95 Theses of Martin Luther. From the Lutheran perspective, a presentation will be made by professor Thomas-Andreas Põder from the EELC Institute of Theology and the Faculty of Theology of Tartu University.

Yet, the conference will not limit itself to the relations between Lutherans and Catholics and observing their joint journey. As similar processes of reconciliation and movements “from conflict to communion” are taking place within and between other churches, we will hear co-presentations on how the document “From Conflict to Communion” is seen and assessed from the perspective of the Orthodox Church as well as from the perspective of Free Churches, taking into consideration their ecumenical understandings and processes of reconciliation in which they themselves participate.

The aim of the conference is to bring together Lutherans and Catholics in the Estonian context, as well as representatives of other churches in order to discuss together and from various perspectives the meaning of the document “From Conflict to Communion”, to introduce its strengths, as well as its possible weaknesses, reflecting alongside it and moving forward from it.

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