The nature of Christ is a very important subject that caused a serious dissension within the Church in the fifth century, in 451 AD. When the theological dialogue started as an effort towards the unity of churches, the subject had to be discussed. Therefore, our Orthodox Church found it necessary to issue a book which presents its concept in this regard in a language fit for theological dialogues.This subject (the Nature of Christ) was taught by me to the students of the Seminary "St. Mark Theological College" in 1984 in the form of lectures which I delivered to them in St. Bishoy Monastery, Sheheit Desert, as part of the courses of comparative Theology. The lectures were printed merely for the use of the students.The same lectures were afterwards translated into English in Ottawa, Canada, in 1980 and became available in English only for six years...We had to print them in Arabic for the students of the Seminary and its branches and for the benefit of those who are interested in theological studies whether ministers or ordinary individuals.. and whoever has the desire-from other churches to be acquainted with our concept of Christology.The first theological dialogue we attended on this subject was in Vienna, Austria in September 1971 AD convened by the ProOriente Group. In this dialogue we reached a theological formula that was accepted by our Catholic brothers and those in the old Oriental orthodox churches: the Syrians, Arminians, Ethiopians and Indians. It was an important dialogue indeed, for the dissension that occurred in the fifth century had distorted the face of every church before the other.. But now the way is open for a common understanding.Then, there was an official agreement with the Catholic churches after 17 years of differences (since 1988), based on the previous understanding. The agreement was recorded in a concise "Statement" which you will find at the end of this book.There was another dialogue, in more detail, with our brothers in the Byzantine Orthodox Churches in St. Bishoy Monastery, Sheheit Desert in 1989 AD. It was attended by the theologians of twenty Orthodox Churches and was followed by another meeting of the priestly representatives of the Orthodox churches in Chambesy, Geneva, in 1990.Now, seeing it is necessary to make our people acquainted with the details and evidences that prove our concept of the Nature of Christ, and since the Pro-Oriente Group is convening a religious conference for the representatives of all Churches at the end of October 1991 to present to them the Agreed Statement on Christology.And since we were asked to present a paper on the subject and deliver it as a lecture in the conference.Therefore, we proceeded to print the former lectures delivered in the Seminary in 1984 as a book to be presented to the conference and to be available in Arabic and in English for all who are interested.
Pope Shenouda III