Here are some news reports about this important breakthrough:
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Cardinal Walter Kasper . . ., the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, told a Vatican Radio audience that "the real breakthrough is that for the first time the Orthodox were ready to speak about the universal level of the Church."The article noted, however, that the Russian Orthodox contingent (the largest body of Orthodoxy) walked out at the beginning, due to a dispute about another participant. The talks in Ravenna, Italy, were between 30 top Catholic theologians and 30 Orthodox theologians from various Orthodox communions.
The 46-paragraph document approved at the Ravenna meeting-- which is due for release on November 15-- refers to the Bishop of Rome as the "first among the patriarchs," La Repubblica reported. The document recognizes the historical patriarchates of the united Church, in Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Among these, the Ravenna participants agreed, Rome has primacy.
. . . "While the fact of primacy at the universal level is accepted by both East and West," the Ravenna statement continued, "there are differences of understanding with regard to the manner in which it is to be exercised, and also with regard to its scriptural and theological foundations."
(Catholic World News: 11-14-07)
Emmanuel Clapsis, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, responded:
It has become increasingly apparent in ecumenical circles that many non‑Roman theologians and churches are actually coming to regard some exercising of primacy by the Roman see as "normal", "desirable", ..useful", or (to some degree) "required". There is, however, a considerable difference between the official Roman Catholic view of primacy and the type of primacy that non‑Roman theologians, churches and communions would be ready to accept for the well‑being of the Church!For a very helpful report on the state of Orthodox-Catholic ecumenical endeavors, generally speaking, see James Likoudis: The Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue: Light and Shadows.
. . . Today, scriptural scholars of all traditions agree that we can discern in the New Testament an early tradition which attributes a special position to Peter among Christ's twelve apostles.
. . . In summary, Orthodoxy does not reject Roman primacy as such, but simply a particular way of understanding that primacy. Within a reintegrated Christendom the bishop of Rome will be considered primus inter pares serving the unity of God's Church in love. He cannot be accepted as set up over the Church as a ruler whose diakonia is conceived through legalistic categories of power of jurisdiction. His authority must be understood, not according to standards of earthly authority and domination, but according to terms of loving ministry and humble service (Matt. 20:25‑27).
Before the schism, in times of ecclesiastical discord and theological controversies, appeals for peaceful resolutions and mediation were made to the pope from all parts of the Christian world. For instance, in the course of the iconoclast controversy, St Theodore the Studite (759‑829) urged the emperor to consult the pope: "If there is anything in the patriarch's reply about which you feel doubt or disbelief... you may ask the chief elder in Rome for clarification, as has been the practice from the beginning according to inherited tradition." From an Orthodox perspective, however, it is important to emphasize that these appeals to the bishop of Rome are not to be understood in juridical terms. The case was not closed when Rome had spoken, and the Byzantines felt free on occasion to reject a Roman ruling.