Archbishop Welby, Patriarch Bartholomew receive agreed theological statement on personhood

Posted Nov 5, 2015

[Lambeth Palace] An agreed statement between Anglican and Orthodox churches on the theology of the human person was presented to the leaders of both families of churches at Westminster Abbey, London, on Nov. 3.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Ecumenical Patriarch, His All-Holiness Bartholomew, received a copy of In the Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology, during a special evensong service at Westminster Abbey.

In a joint communiqué, the two leaders said that the agreement “celebrates what Anglicans and Orthodox affirm together about the human person, created in ‘the Image and Likeness of God’ and will form the theological foundation for forthcoming discussions on the practical consequences of these theological presuppositions for addressing the key themes, including the protection of the environment, medical interventions, and questions around family life and ethics.”

The agreed statement was the culmination of six years of study on “what Anglicans and Orthodox can say together about the meaning of human personhood in the divine image,” members of the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) said when they agreed on the final text in September 2015.

ICAOTD members said that the agreement will form the basis for future discussions and ongoing study in areas such as bioethics and the sanctity of life, as well as human rights and ecological justice. They will meet again in September 2016.

The Ecumenical Patriarch has now concluded his visit to the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was announced today that Archbishop Justin has been invited to a conference next year at the Phanar – the home of Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul – to discuss the churches’ response to human trafficking.

  • Click here to read the joint communiqué from Archbishop Welby and Patriarch Bartholomew
  • The agreed text, In the Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology, is available to purchase from the Anglican Communion’s online shop.