The present book documents the papers and communiqué of a consultation between the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Leuenberg Church Fellowship (LCF) held at the Orthodox Academy Chania in Crete from 28 November to 1 December 2002. The editors also wrote a report (see the appendix) on the process of the consultation in which prayer services and theological talks effectively complemented each other.
The idea of convening such a consultation between the representatives of Protestant, Orthodox and Old Oriental churches in Europe came in equal measure from the Conference of European Churches and the Leuenberg Church Fellowship. The question of ecclesiology seemed to be particularly suitable as the subject of talks due to the fact that the Leuenberg Church Fellowship unanimously adopted a study document entitled “The Church of Jesus Christ. The Contribution of the Reformation towards Ecumenical Dialogue on Church Unity.” The document’s subtitle demonstrates that its intention goes far beyond the self understanding of the Reformation churches on their own understanding of the church. The Leuenberg Agreement itself emphasises that the churches involved should do so “as part of their responsibility to promote the ecumenical fellowship of all Christian churches.” For this reason, the Agreement and the ensuing study document on the church are targeted on the dialogue with other Christian churches, especially the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches. Conversely, the document is of special interest for Orthodox theologians, too, for being a consensus paper representing a common understanding of the Lutheran, Reformed and United churches in Europe on the Church of Jesus Christ.
Thanks to efficient coordination between the CEC and LCF secretariats, the papers of the consultation, communiqué and report could be compiled in a relatively short time and made available in German and English with a view to bringing the publication to a broader readership. The editors would like to thank all the contributors for their cooperation in providing their papers for the publication and the translators, Ms Hera Moon of the Leuenberg Secretariat and the CEC language service department.