Primacy in the Church is a careful and critical selection of historical and theological essays, canonical and liturgical articles, as well as contemporary and contextual reflections on what is arguably the most significant and sensitive issue in both inter-Orthodox debate and inter-Christian dialogue—namely, the authority of the primate and the role of councils in the thought and tradition of the Church.
Volume One examines the development and application of a theology of primacy and synodality through the centuries. Volume Two explores how such a theology can inform contemporary ecclesiology and reconcile current practices. Chryssavgis draws together original contributions from prominent scholars today, complemented by formative selections from theologians in the recent past, as well as relevant ecumenical documents.
About the Editor: John Chryssavgis is the Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Throne and author of many books on Orthodox theology, spirituality, and ecology.
I have eagerly looked forward to such a publication on primacy and synodality in the Church, which is the central issue between the Eastern and Western Church. These two volumes include research from a broad range of leading theologians, predominantly Orthodox and Catholic, on the present state of such discussions. I have long been convinced that there can be reconciliation between East and West if the question of primacy is properly redefined and resolved, primarily on the Roman side: on the one hand, not solely as an authoritarian primacy of jurisdiction and, on the other hand, not simply as an ineffective primacy of honor, but primarily as an inspirational and mediatory pastoral primacy at the service of the whole contemporary ecumenical Church. In the recent past, John XXIII exemplified such a primacy; and today, the same could be expected of Pope Francis. His fraternal encounters with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew are a promising step forward in addressing these vital issues
The theology of the Church has in the last few decades become once again an area of real interest and creativity, as our attention has been drawn back to the role of the sacramental Body of Christ in our human liberation into divine communion. Yet when it comes to the details of inter-confessional dialogue, the temptation is still strong to revert to familiar and comfortable positions, with—among other things—an assumption that historic polarizations over primacy and collegiality are fixed and given quantities. These excellent essays insist on going deeper. They do not pretend to resolve the issues that still divide Christians, issues over the charism of the Petrine office or the limits of sacramental fellowship or the authority of the episcopate; instead, they represent a clear and searching exploration of fundamental matters starting from first principles. We need more reflection of this quality. This book will be a major resource for all who believe that the ecumenical encounter is still a powerfully energizing context for theological thought.
This is an important two-volume work on the issue of primacy in the Church. The subject is significant, and has attracted attention resulting in the publication of numerous studies produced in many countries and in different languages. The relevant bibliography is enormous. The present work constitutes a selection of articles and short studies, and offers a very helpful picture of the various aspects, questions, and problems related to the central topic. The contributors to the two volumes are well-known theologians who have dealt with the issue extensively. The editor and contributor of four articles, Fr John Chryssavgis, is to be commended and congratulated because he managed—cooperating with St Vladimir’s Seminary Press—to place at the disposal of Church authorities and theologians a valuable resource on a crucial issue.