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The Role of the Petrine Ministry in the Ecumenical Relationship between the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Catholic Church

Pater Biju Mathew

This work deals with the role of the Petrine ministry in the ecumenical relationship between the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Catholic Church. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church traces her origin to the Church of St Thomas Christians, founded by St Thomas, the Apostle who reached the south Indian state of Kerala in 52 AD. The book explores the Ecclesiologies of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the St Thomas Christians of India and the Catholic Church from a dogmatic-juridical-historical perspective. The author tries to mediate between the two Churches in order to support them in the reviewing process of their history and Ecclesiology and re-establishing the unity for which Jesus Christ prayed: «Holy father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one» (Jn 17, 11). The author in his role as mediator makes a few suggestions for solving the problems related to the concept of the Petrine ministry on a universal level in the light of the Communion Ecclesiology of Vatican II, the studies of the various unofficial ecumenical dialogue commissions and the analysis of the experience of the Syro Malabar Church, one of the 22 sui iuris Churches in the Catholic Church.
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General Conclusion


Ecumenism is one of the most discussed themes in ecclesiastical circles all over the world. It is all the more important today because of the increasing tendencies of secularization, globalization, religious fanaticism, wide-ranging propaganda against the Christian Churches by particular groups, the threat posed against the apostolic Churches by newly established Christian sects. Above all the diminished authenticity of the witness for Jesus Christ in the divided Christendom as well as the divided existence is against the will of Christ who prayed for the unity of his disciples. This doctoral dissertation concerns one of the most momentous and most disputed themes in the ecumenical dialogue of all the Christian Churches with the Catholic Church, namely, the Petrine ministry in the Universal Church. This most controversial and most important theme has been studied in the framework of the ecumenical relation between the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and the Catholic Church. The three parts of this doctoral dissertation have been an academic journey through centuries beginning from the birth of the Church till today searching and re-searching the notion of the Petrine ministry in the ecclesial traditions of the Roman Church and the MOSC. The biblical, historical, canonical and theological dimensions of the concept of the Petrine ministry in the Roman tradition and the foundations of the jurisdictional papal primacy of the Catholic Church have been analyzed. The concept of the Petrine ministry in MOSC along with its practical application has been examined in the context of the Ecclesiology of...

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