Ecclesiology and Mission after Crete I: Illustration in the Light of the Documents Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World and The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World

Acta Missiologiae 6 (1):35-45 (2018)
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There is an internal connection between ecclesiology, the teaching about the Church that we call academic ecclesiology, and mission, which is the inner heart of the Church and becomes visible through different practices. For the Orthodox Church involved in the ecumenical movement, there is a struggle to balance ecclesiology (theology) with ecumenical mission and dialogue (practice) in a divided Christian world. Nevertheless, the recent Synod of Crete (June 2016) addressed some important elements of this struggle. I have in mind, for example, the act to accept the historical name of other non-Orthodox Christian Churches and Confessions that are not in communion with it. Also, this is the first Synod of the Orthodox Churches in modern times at which ecumenical dialogue, especially in the World Council of Churches, is officially affirmed. Because of mission dialogue has to continue, “if we wish never to ‘put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ’ (1 Cor 9:12).” The present paper highlights those statements of the Holy and Great Council which have direct relevance for discussing the relation of ecclesiology and mission. I assert that we should understand firstly the document Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the of the Christian World and only then reflect upon The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World (MOCT). Furthermore, I will make some references to the other texts which were central for this conference: The Cape Town Commitment (CTC), Together Towards Life (TTL) and Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG). I conclude by exposing briefly my reflections after reading these mission documents and by formulating some agenda points for further work in theology of mission.

Author's Profile

Doru Marcu
University of Craiova


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