On November 5-9, 2014, Professor Paul Meyendorff traveled to Malta to participate in the 11th meeting of the St. Irenaeus Orthodox-Catholic Working Group. The group, an informal gathering of Orthodox and Catholic theologians, has been in existence since 2004, at a time when the official international Orthodox-Catholic dialogue was at a standstill. The group has met annually since, alternating between Orthodox and Catholic venues. "Because this is an unofficial dialogue, participants are able to share their views more freely, unhindered by various ecclesial and political factors that at times derail the official dialogue," notes Dr. Meyendorff.
At this meeting, members discussed issues of primacy and synodality as reflected both during the first millennium and in the recent statements by the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. "Given current difficulties in the official dialogue, it is vitally important to continue the conversation, even if only informally," concludes Prof. Meyendorff. In planning for the future, members of the Working Group agreed that the questions of primacy need to be addressed both separately, by each Church, but also together, so as to develop a church structure that will be acceptable to both sides and will meet the needs of a world that needs a united Christian witness.