Joint Jewish and Christian-Orthodox Statement

By participants of a dialogue October 29-31, 1979, in Bucharest, Romania. A follow-up of the dialogue held in March of 1977 in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Jewish and Orthodox Christian Dialogue

Bucharest, Romania, October 29-31.1979.

A follow-up of the dialogue held in March of 1977 in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Under the Sponsorship of

Patriarch Justinian of Romania

and Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen of Romania

The meeting was chaired jointly by

H.E. Metropolitan Damaskinos of Tranoupolis,

Director of the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at Chambesy, Switzerland


Prof. Shemaryahu Talmon,

Chairman of the Jewish Council for Inter-religious Consultations in Israel, Professor of Bible, Institute of Jewish Studies and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The center of discussion was the relation between Scripture and Tradition with a focus on the interpretation of Scripture in Tradition. It was found that both sides agree that the interpretation of Scripture was always inextricably bound to the text of Scripture since tradition is first and foremost the tradition of revelation. Furthermore, both sides stressed that Scripture and Tradition came into existence in a faithful community which preserves them but also, which interprets and applies them to its ongoing life, as the authority and source of its identity.

The text of Scripture and its interpretation are both the result of or part of revelation at whose center is God’s revelation to Moses on Mt Sinai.

The Jewish tradition of the revelation of the written and oral Torah on Mt. Sinai was found to have a parallel in the Orthodox Christian tradition whereby God revealed on Sinai His uncreated Torah and thus inspired Moses to give His chosen people the created or written Torah.

The centrality of God’s revelation of Himself to Moses for Jewish and Orthodox Christian understandings of faith and spirituality became evident from the discussions.

It was found that in spite of the well-known differences in belief there are nevertheless areas of identity and similarity which would be worthwhile to explore in an ongoing dialogue.

It was therefore decided that the subject of investigation for the next meeting would be the subject of the law in the spiritual and social life of the Jewish and Orthodox Christian tradition.

  1. Jewish Participants: 1. Rabbi Balfour Brickner, Union of American Hebrew Congregations: 2. Dr. Andre Chouraqui, Jewish Committee for Inter-religious Consultations of Israel; 3. Michael J. Klein, World Jewish Congress; 4. Dr. Moses Rosen, Chief Rabbi of Romania; 5. Rabbi Elie Sabetal, Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece; 6. Zachariah Shuster, American Jewish Committee; 7. Israel Singer, World Jewish Congress; 8. Prof. Shemaryahu Talmon, Jewish Committee for Inter-religious Consultations; 9. Prof. Michael Wyschogrod, Synagogue Council of America.

  2. Orthodox Participants: Father Dumitru, Prof. of Old Testament at the Theological Institute of Sibiu, Romania; Bishop Anthony, Vicar of the Patriarchate of Romania, Bucharest; Father Cyril Argenti, Marseilles, France; Prof. Ion Bria, World Council of Churches; Deacon Emilian Conritescu, Theological Institute of Bucharest; Metropolitan Damaskinos of Tranoupolis, Director of the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Chambesy, Switzerland; Deacon Elie Jones Golitzin, Institute des Sciences Bibliques, The Faculty of Theology, Lausanne, Switzerland; Deacon Vassilios Karayannis, Orthodox Center, Chambesy, Geneva; Prof. John S. Romanides, University of Thessaloniki, Greece; Slavco Valcanov Slavov, The Theological Academy of Sofia, Bulgaria.  


Editorial remarks

For an Orthodox commentary on the dialogue see an article by John S. Romanides: