This issue of Perspectief presents five contributions to the August 2016 Academic Consultation of the Societas Oecumenica, and one paper that was written afterwards, but that fits to the theme. The stimulating core question of the conference was: “Just do it?! Recognition and Reception in Ecumenical Relations”. The papers vary from analyzing the terms to exploring practical implications for local ecumenical encounters. This issue was composed by Fokke Wouda, member of the editorial board of Perspectief and participant in the consultation.
Prof. dr. Veronika Hoffmann writes in German about recognition (Anerkennung). With her systematic analysis she proposes a theological understanding of the term. She situates our recognition of each other in ecumenical relations significantly in the framework of our being recognized by God.
Prof. dr. Gabriel Monet criticizes the fact that the processes that are regarded as significant (and as such are given implications for recognition and reception), take predominantly place at the level of church leadership and on a cognitive level. He makes an appeal for a “de-cognition of recognition.”
Dr. Petre Maican argues that the Orthodox church has an inner necessity for ecumenical dialogue. Opposing the idea that the Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement solely consists of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel and patristic tradition, Maican advocates the conviction that the Orthodox understanding of the faith can be genuinely enriched and deepened by its dialogue partners. But how open are the Orthodox churches to acknowledging other Christian communities and their theological contribution?
Viorel Coman MA explores ecumenical strategies for fruitful dialogue. He compares Romanian theologian Dumitru Stăniloae’s concept of ‘open sobornicity’ with British scholar Paul Murray’s ‘receptive ecumenism’. In doing so, Coman seeks the balance between the roles of teacher and student, which churches have in the ecumenical dialogue.
Dr. Jelle Creemers introduces the challenging perspective of the Free Churches on recognition and reception. Because of their ecclesiological presuppositions, which are so different from the standpoints of the traditional churches, their involvement adds a new and demanding dynamic to the ecumenical process.
Giulia Casadei MA and Fokke Wouda MA work on PhD projects about Eucharistic sharing in ecumenical relations; a pressing, yet controversial topic in Roman Catholic ecumenical engagement. As they both encounter questions concerning the terminology of this field, they decided on writing an article together, in which they search for a suitable term to describe the phenomenon that they study. Their paper was only written after the consultation, but since it fits to the theme of the consultation “Just do it?!”, it is included in this issue.