The St. Bernardino Institute of Ecumenical Studies in Venice, which is the ecumenical institute of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Italy, has been closely associated with the Strasbourg Institute for many years now. Every two years it hosts a theological conference between the Venetian and the Strasbourg teams. This encounter is important, as the Italian scholars have hardly any opportunity to meet with Lutheran theologians, excepting in the city of Rome.
This year’s conference took place from April 5 to 7. Our Italian friends expressed the wish to work on the Strasbourg Institute’s major study on „Lutheran Identity.“ To the lectures and questions of the Italian scholars the Strasbourg team responded with lectures by J. Wasmuth, M. Arnold, T. Dieter, and A. Birmelé. A major theme of the conversation was the understanding of the office of ministry and especially the issue of whether the office of ministry belongs to the „essence“ of the church, according to Lutheran theology. It became once again clear how important it is for the Strasbourg Institute to undertake foundational ecumenical work precisely in those countries where the desire and effort toward unity are present but have not yet reached the point that has been achieved in places like Germany or the United States.
The next colloquium is scheduled for 2020 and will probably deal with the theme of models of unity. [nggallery id=45]