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An Illusion of Division? An Examination of the ‘Dialogue of Love’ between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches



The Dialogue of Love was a series of correspondences and events undertaken between leaders of the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, beginning with the famous embrace between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in 1964. Marking the most significant modern attempt at rapprochement between the churches, the Dialogue led to deeper mutual understandings, fruitful relationships and a recognition of spiritual blessings.

With his unique perspective as a Catholic priest in the Eastern tradition, and his belief in a deep and abiding ‘mystically real bond’ between the Churches, Father Lawrence Cross brings a wealth of research to his examination of the Dialogue of Love, asking throughout the important question, to what degree is the division between East and West merely an illusion?

Moving from practical considerations to the workings of the Spirit, to dialogue as theology, with extensive notes referring to Latin, Greek and Russian primary source material, An Illusion of Division? Is a comprehensive study of a profound revelatory unfolding in Church and world history that will be of interest to Christians of all traditions who thirst for unity.

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Author Description

Father Lawrence Cross was born in Sydney in 1943 and received the Catholic faith from the very Irish Australian Church of his childhood, but as a young man he fell in love with the Russian Byzantine tradition. It is there ever afterwards that he has expressed this same faith. Consequently, all his ecumenical and theological activity has been dedicated to the reconciliation of Orthodox and Catholic Christians. He received most of his high school education on a choral scholarship from St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. He graduated in Arts from the University of Sydney and later read History in St. John’s College, Oxford. He is a Doctor of Theology in the Melbourne College of Divinity.

From 1963 to 1980 he was a member of the one-time Society of St. Gerard. There his keen interest and love of Orthodoxy was deepened and extended. From 1981 to 2013 he taught theology in the Australian Catholic University and is presently an Honourary Fellow of the University. No one has been more active locally and internationally in the cause of Catholic/Orthodox reconciliation, generating ecclesial events and projects to expand the Churches’ knowledge of each other and of their particular experiences of Tradition.

Fr. Lawrence is in demand as a speaker at international theological conferences, with a record that spans from Oxford to Serbia and from Moscow to Rome. His research continues to appear in theological journals worldwide, including The Ecumenical Review, One in Christ, St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, Irish Theological Quarterly, New Blackfriars, Studia Patristica, and the Newman Studies Journal, to name a few.

He is the founder of the international conference series Orientale Lumen: Australasia and Oceania, and with Professor Pauline Allen, of Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church (now continuing as (Early Christian Centuries). He is the pastor of the Russian Byzantine Catholics in Australia, based in the Russian Catholic Community at Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas, Melbourne. He was supported in all his work by his beloved Diane (d. 2011) and has two sons, Nicholas and Patrick.