Catholicism and Orthodoxy: The "Struggle" for "Reunion" from the Second Vatican Council to the Holy Year 2000

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2006


Campus Only

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

George S. Worgul

Committee Member

Jean Donovan

Committee Member

Marie L. Baird

Committee Member

Michael Slusser


Catholic-Orthodox agreements, Catholic-Orthodox relations, dialogue-popes and patriarchs, Edelby-Archbishop Neophytos, Maximos IV Sayegh-Patriarch, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Ukrainian Catholic Church, Vatican II and ecumenism


The Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Year 2000 was committed to ecumenism in its mission of unity in the Church and the world but did not achieve "full communion" with the Eastern Orthodox Church. This dissertation traces the process of ecumenical consciousness before, during, and after-Vatican II as well as Orthodox responses to its decisions and their implementation. Chapter 1 focuses on the figures of Pope John XXIII, Augustine Cardinal Bea, and the Secretariat for Christian Unity in the development of Vatican II ecumenical consciousness and on the Orthodox Church's interest in the ecumenical movement and the achievements of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I in pan-Orthodox unity. Chapter 2 examines the presence of the Eastern Church at the Council particularly as related to the Decree on Eastern Catholic Churches and the Decree on Ecumenism. It traces the "dialogue of love" between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I. Chapter 3 assesses the on-going "dialogue" between Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Dimitrios I and the "reception" of Vatican II twenty-years later at the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops (1985) and reflected in the 1993 Directory of Ecumenism. Chapter 4 reviews the "dialogue of truth" evident in four Agreements of the Joint International Theological Commission with particular focus on the difficulties of "uniatism" addressed in the Balamand Statement. The chapter examines the writings of Pope John Paul II on the Eastern Church and on ecumenism and the vision of Church Unity expressed by Patriarch Bartholomew I. Chapter 5 provides a theological commentary on "communion ecclesiology" and pneumatology as the loci for convergence between East and West on resolving the divergence on "filioque" and "papal primacy" questions. The Epilogue identifies the "struggle" in East-West relations as "conversion" and psychological/cultural differences. It suggests further study of conciliarity and the synodal structure as means to rapprochement. A lasting benefit of Vatican II ecumenism is the Roman Catholic Church's realization that the Church is not the Latin Church alone and that the path to unity lies not in "return" or "reunion" but in "full communion" of all churches and ecclesial communities in the Church of God.





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