Consecration of Homosexual in Same Sex Relationship as Episcopal Bishop delays Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission Dialogue

The meeting of the Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission, which was to have taken place at Walsingham from Tuesday 28 October to Sunday 2 November 2003, has been postponed at the suggestion of the Heads of the Coptic Orthodox Church (His Holiness Pope Shenouda III), the Syrian Orthodox Church (His Holiness Patriarch Zakka I) and the Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholicosate of Cilicia (His Holiness Catholicos Aram I), who met in Antelias, Lebanon, on 17 and 18 October 2003.

The present time is clearly a moment of uncertainty in the life of the Anglican Communion, with the consecration of a homosexual person in a committed, same-sex relationship as a Bishop within the Episcopal Church (USA). The developments facing the Communion were addressed in the Statement of the Primates of the Anglican Communion who met together with the Moderators of the United Churches at Lambeth Palace, London, on 15 and 16 October, to consider their reactions and the way forward for the Communion. In the light of that meeting, the Archbishop of Canterbury has set up a Commission which will look at the future structures of the Communion in the light of decisions taken in the Episcopal Church (USA) and in the Anglican Church of Canada.

It was felt by the Heads of the Oriental Churches who met in Antelias, that the on-going dialogue between the Anglicans and the family of Oriental Churches would be better served by waiting, at present, for the Anglican Communion to have time to take proper account of, and reflect upon, the consecration which has taken place. It is very much hoped by all participants that the work of the Commission will be resumed at a time convenient to all.

The Commission, which has been in existence since 2002 and which built on a long-standing history of dialogue and co-operation, has already produced an Agreed Statement on Christology. The Statement is currently being considered by the member churches of the Anglican Communion and the family of Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Commission plans to undertake work on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit in its next round of talks, and asks for prayers for the future of Anglican-Oriental Orthodox dialogue at this present time.

The members of the Commission are:

Oriental Orthodox

  • His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy (Co-Chairman), Coptic Orthodox Church
  • His Grace Bishop Nareg Alemezian (Co-Secretary), Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia
  • His Grace Bishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Church
  • His Eminence Metropolitan Mor Eustathius Matta Roham, Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
  • His Grace Bishop Yeznik Petrossian, Armenian Catholicosate of All Armenians
  • His Grace Bishop Mikael Ajapahyan, Armenian Catholicosate of All Armenians
  • His Grace Bishop Kegham Khatcherian, Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia
  • His Grace Bishop Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church
  • The Revd Dr K M George, Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church
  • His Eminence Metropolitan Mor Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim, Syrian Orthodox Church
  • The Revd Seife-Sellassie Yohannes, Ethiopian Orthodox Church
  • The Revd Kaleab Ghebreslassie, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church


  • The Rt Revd Dr Geoffrey Rowell (Co-Chairman), Church of England
  • The Revd Canon Gregory K Cameron (Co-Secretary), Director of Ecumenical Affairs and Studies, Anglican Communion Office
  • The Most Revd George Clive Handford, Anglican Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
  • The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • The Rt Revd Michael Jackson, Bishop of Clogher, Church of Ireland
  • The Revd Canon Harold J. Nahabedian, Anglican Church of Canada
  • The Revd William Taylor, Church of England
  • The Revd Canon Jonathan Gough, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative
  • The Rt Revd John Craig Stewart, Anglican Church in Australia
  • The Revd Canon Professor J. Robert Wright, Episcopal Church, USA

Administrative Staff

The Revd Terrie Robinson, Anglican Communion Office