A more hopeful outcome from the Pro Oriente Syriac Dialogues has been the opening of bilateral dialogue between the Syrian Orthodox and Syrian Catholic churches. The first meeting between the patriarchs Ignatius Zakka Iwas and Ignatius Musa Cardinal Da'ud, presently the head of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, took place in November 1999. Both the Syrian Catholic and the Maronite churches have regularly participated in the Pro Oriente consultations since 1994. Representatives of delegations from these churches have not only contributed papers on Christology, but have also begun to discuss the liturgy and sacraments.80
In 1996, the Church of the East and the Roman Catholic Church met to outline the course of the discussion for future meetings. The productivity of these future meetings rested in part on the clear goal that the participants set out: the restoration of full ecclesial unity of the Church of the East. In pursuit of this goal the two patriarchs stipulated that the entire common theological, patristic, liturgical, linguistic, cultural and historical inheritance of both churches should be the objects of study and reflection.81 A 'Commission for Unity' was established with the task of creating a common catechism and a common institute for training priests, deacons and catechists in the Detroit metropolitan area (a region that has large concentrations of members of both churches), as well as other important cultural and ecclesiastical joint projects.
In October 2001, Rome issued a document entitled 'Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Church of the East'. This two-page document covered the conditions under which Chaldean Catholics of the diaspora are permitted to receive communion within the Church of the East. These revolve around the question of the validity of the eucharistic prayer of Addai and Mari, employed in the Church of the East. This is a eucharistic prayer which does not contain Jesus's so-called 'words of institution': 'This is my body . . . This is my blood.' Roman Catholic liturgics requires the presence of these two formulae for there to be a Eucharist. These words of institution were therefore added to the eucharistic prayer employed in the Chaldean Catholic Church. However, scholars of the Roman Church have now established that the eucharistic prayer of Addai and Mari is ancient, and that this prayer without Jesus's words is consequently a valid eucharistic
80 S. Brock, 'The Syriac churches and dialogue with the Catholic Church', HeythropJournal 45 (2004), 435-50.
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