In the run-up to the celebrations to mark the 125th anniversary of the Union of Utrecht, the International Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference (IBC) convened with bishops from the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, the Philippine Independent Church, the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain and the Old Catholic Church of the Mariavites for a special meeting in Utrecht. The aim of the meeting was to work on a joint response to the World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order’s convergence text titled ‘The Church: Towards a Common Vision’. Supported by theologians from several churches, the bishops produced a statement that describes what it could mean to be a global community of local churches.
At their meeting, the IBC members also took note of the need for further in-depth internal discussions for the Old Catholic Church of the Mariavites following the agreement and statement of 1 April 2014. The agreement to admit the Old Catholic Church of the Mariavites to the Union of Utrecht will therefore not be put into effect until this discussion process has come to a result that includes the convening of a synod for the first time in around 70 years. The IBC and Bishop L. Jablonski state that they continue to pursue the aim of readmitting the Old Catholic Church of the Mariavites to the Union of Utrecht. However, further steps must now wait until the internal discussion process is completed. The IBC will decide at its next regular meeting in 2015 on the significance of the situation for the current guest status of the Mariavite bishops in the IBC.
Amersfoort/Bern, 29 September 2014
Information Officer of the International Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference
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