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Religion: Toward Unity

2 minute read

When Great Britain treats with a lesser nation like Rumania, her diplomats may exhibit well-bred superciliousness. Not so when the Church of England deals with a body like the Orthodox Church of Rumania. The Anglican Church, convinced as it is that it is truly Catholic, is young compared with its Catholic colleagues throughout the world. And many an Anglican is sensitive because doubt has been cast—mostly by Roman Catholics— upon the validity of Anglican priestly powers, which are descended from those of Queen Elizabeth’s first Archbishop, who according to Roman Catholics was not validly consecrated. Last week the Church of England was grateful because the Church of Rumania had acknowledged that Anglican holy orders are valid.

More actively and practically interested in Christian unity than any other great church in the world, the Church of England five years ago moved toward rapprochement with the Orthodox Eastern Patriarchate of Constantinople (TIME, Jan. 11, 1932). Next objectives toward establishing intercommunion among all the Catholic churches which reject the Pope’s authority and believe broadly in the same dogmas were the other Orthodox Churches of Europe and Asia Minor. Rumania, with 11,000,000 Orthodox, has the largest and most influential church. To Bucharest two summers ago were invited a party of Anglican bishops and theologians, to thresh out theological problems with the Rumanians. After agreeing that Anglican orders are valid, the Rumanian Orthodox requested the Church of England formally to declare its desire for intercommunion.

Last summer the Convocation of York did so. Month ago the Convocation of Canterbury followed suit. Before these steps can result in any kind of fellowship, before Anglicans and Orthodox can decide upon what they jointly believe, similar negotiations must be opened with the Orthodox churches of Russia, Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria.

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