Letter of His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper To the President of the Department of Ecumenical Relations of the Indian Orthodox Church

The following message was sent by Walter Cardinal Kasper, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church.


E Civitate Vaticana, die
18 June 2005

Port. N. 2581 / 2005/h
Your Eminence,
I duly received your letter of 12 May 2005, regarding the decision of the Malankara Orthodox Church not to hold its dialogue with the Catholic Church, in the framework of the annual Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Church. I see this letter as a continuation of the discussion we had in Rome on the occasion of your last visit here.

I can only confirm that the title of Catholicos has not been given by the Holy See to His Grace Cyril Mar Baselios : (1) that the title of Major Archbishop is the only one mentioned in the Decree of elevation issued by the Holy See, and in all Vatican messages or publications regarding this nomination; (2) that the title of Catholicos does not appear in the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches, I have also been informed that His Beatitude Cardinal Moussa I Daoud did not use the title Catholicos during his stay in Kerala, on the occasion of the celebrations for the elevation of His Grace Cyril Mar Baselios.

I have conveyed your message regarding the decision of the Malankara Orthodox Church to His Grace Cyril Mar Baselios and look forward to receiving a reply.

I deeply regret that use of the title Catholicos, for which the Holy See and this Pontifical Council are not responsible, could lead to this difficult situation. Knowing how important the activities of this joint International Commission have been for the development of fraternal relations between the Malankara Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church in Kerala, it would be a great loss if this commission were not able to continue its activities. It is my hope and prayer that we will be able to overcome this difficulty, for the greater good of promotion of Christian unity.

I would ask Your Eminence to convey my greeting and prayerful good wishes to His Holiness Catholicos Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews II and to the members of the Holy Synod of the Malankara Orthodox Church.

With the expression of my cordial esteem, I remain

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Walter Cardinal Kasper
His Eminence Philipos Mar Eusebius
Metropolitan of Thumpamon
St. Basil Aramana
Pathanamthitta 689645 Kerala, India


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