Malines Conversations Group Meeting in Helsinki

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Malines Conversations Group Meeting in HelsinkiThe Malines Conversations Group, an unofficial theological dialogue of Catholic and Anglican theologians, met in Helsinki, Finland, from 20 to 26 April 2024. This was the tenth meeting of the group, named in commemoration of the original Malines Conversations of the 1920s. These early informal conversations, held between a small group of British Anglicans and European Catholics, were made possible because of the bonds of friendship between the members of the group. In the same spirit, apart from some interruptions caused by Covid, the current Malines Conversations Group has been gathering annually since 2013. Though meetings normally alternate between Anglican and Catholic venues, exceptionally, the group met this year in a cultural and conference centre directed by His Eminence Ambrosius, retired Finnish Orthodox Metropolitan of Helsinki.

During the course of the meeting, members listened to and discussed several papers on issues related to anthropology and human identity, artificial intelligence and transhumanism, and the role of women in the Church.

On Sunday 21 April, the group attended the Parish Eucharist in the Cathedral of Porvoo, the city that gave its name to the full communion agreement between Anglican Churches in Great Britain, Ireland, and the Iberian Peninsula and Lutheran Churches in Nordic countries, the Baltic, and Great Britain. The group was formally welcomed by the Evangelical Lutheran Bishop of Porvoo, Rt Revd Bo-Göran Åstrand. On Wednesday 24 April, the group held its meetings in the city of Turku and prayed in the city’s medieval Cathedral. That evening, the Archbishop of Turku and Primate of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Most Revd Tapio Luoma, hosted the group for dinner in his official residence. The group also made brief visits to the Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran Cathedrals in Helsinki.

As an unofficial dialogue, the Malines Conversations Group is not sponsored by the Dicastery, but the official responsible for relations with the Anglican Communion, Revd Fr Martin Browne OSB, attended in the capacity of observer.

The last meeting of the Malines Conversations Group took place in St Paul's Bay, Malta, from May 20 to 26, 2023.