Journal of Ecumenical Studies vol:45 issue:1 pages:113-133
In this study, the author undertakes a critical evaluation of the Orthodox view of papal primacy, in view of proposing a model of papal primacy befitting the contemporary ecumenical situation. The study proceeds in three moments: the first part, presents the Roman Catholic understanding of papal primacy. The author traces the evolution and contours of papal primacy from the first and second Vatican Councils, as well as, the papal encyclical Ut Unum Sint. The second part, presents the Orthodox understanding of authority in general, and primacy in particular. In this section, the author reviews the concept of papal primacy in the works of Orthodox scholars such as Francis Dvornik, John Meyerndorff, Abbé Guetée and Metropolitan John Zizioulas. Finally, the study proposes “primacy in communion” as an alternative way of exercising papal primacy. Under this arrangement, as the principle of unity, the pope will coordinate the life and mission of the Church universal through a consultative process. Moreover, the pope will be expected to convoke synods of the universal Church and preside over such a synods. Finally, the pope will also serve as spokesperson of Christendom. We hope that, in the light of “primacy in communion,” the course for Christian unity will be enhanced, and the Church will be more effective in her mission.