Provided by Union of Catholic Asian News,
HONG KONG - Christian Churches
Increase Ecumenical Links
HK8808.0950 November 20, 1997 39 EM-lines (406 words)

HONG KONG (UCAN) - Cooperation among local Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Churches has increased since the Orthodox Church set up the metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia here in 1996, as recent activities indicate.

Recent seminars on the Orthodox liturgy, a Catholic-Lutheran dialogue on the doctrine of justification and talks on the spirituality of the three Churches have drawn hundreds of local Chinese Christians.

At the invitation of the Catholic Diocesan Liturgy Commission and Holy Spirit Seminary College, Orthodox Metropolitan Nikitas Lulias and an Orthodox priest delivered eight weekly talks on their liturgy, pastoral work and spirituality from October to November.

Some 60 seminarians and other Catholics were among those attending, Father Thomas Law Kwok-fai, director of the liturgy commission, told UCA News Nov. 4.

"These talks help broaden the vision of the laity," he said. The organizers did not aim to bring about Church unity, "but hoped to promote mutual understanding," he added.

On Nov. 15, the Protestants' Hong Kong Christian Council held a sharing on spirituality jointly led by Metropolitan Lulias, Trappist Father Giles Chong Chung-chak and Protestant Andrew Ho Po-sang. Seventy Christians attended.

The program was "the first time we have had the Orthodox Church joining with us, as well as the first time we have had a spiritual activity with emphasis on ecumenism," coordinator Louisa Wai Kwok-pik told UCA News Nov. 4.

At another November forum, Father Peter Choy Wai-man, head of the Institute of Religious Science at the Holy Spirit college, and Doctor Nicholas Tai, vice president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, discussed their respective Churches' views on justification.

The Lutheran and Catholic Churches had presented a "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" during the Lutheran world congress here in July.

The Catholic-run Bishop Peter Lei Laity Formation Centre ran the forum. In 1998, the year dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the center and the Orthodox Church will sponsor talks on the Holy Spirit, anticipating the third Christian millennium.

Father Law said that since the Orthodox priests here do not speak Chinese, he will act as interpreter.

The 100-member Orthodox community, almost all non-Chinese, lost their gathering space inside a British army camp with the transfer of Hong Kong's sovereignty to China. In April, Metropolitan Lulias asked the Catholic and Protestant Churches for a place to hold services.

The chapel of a Catholic school, which is vacant on Sundays, is being loaned to the Orthodox Church for one year.