Conferences between Representatives Appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Church of England and Representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of Latvia and Estonia.
No place: no publisher, 1938.
The Bishop of Gloucester (Chairman).
The Bishop of Wakefield.
The Bishop of Fulham.
The Dean of Chichester.
The Rev. Dr. Raven.
The Rev. C. B. Moss.
The Rev. P. Usher.
The Archbishop of Latvia (Dr. T. Grünbergs).
The Provost of Riga (Dr. Adolf Kundzins).
The Rev. Edgar Rumba.
The Bishop of Estonia (Dr. Rahamägi).
Dr. Jaak Taul.
The Bishop of Gloucester.
The Bishop of Derby.
The Bishop of Fulham. 1
The Dean of Chichester.
The Rev. Dr. A. J. Macdonald
The Rev. H. M. Waddams.
The Archbishop of Latvia (Dr. T. Grünbergs).
Professor Dr. V. Maldonis.
The Provost of Riga (Dr. Adolf Kundzins). 1
Provost K. Avots. 1
Dr. V. Grüner. 1
The Rev. Edgar Rumba.
The Bishop of Estonia (Dr. Rahamägi).
Provost J. O. Lauri. 2
Provost A Soomre. 2
Provost F. Jürgenson.
Provost H. Kubu. 2
Provost J. Aunver. 2
Dr. Jaak Taul.
1. In Riga only.
2. In Tallinn only.
Letter of the Chairman of the Delegation to the Archbishop of Canterbury
25th October, 1938.
MY LORD ARCHBISHOP,
It is my pleasant duty to forward to you the Report of the Conferences held between the representatives of the Churches of Latvia and Estonia and the representatives of the Church of England appointed by your Grace, and to ask you to lay the Report before Convocation.
Our delegation, as you know, visited Riga and Tallinn, the capitals of the two countries, at the end of last June, when we were received with the greatest friendliness and entertained most hospitably. Our visit coincided with the great National Song Festivals of the two countries, which we found both interesting and picturesque, and with the Estonian Festival of Victory, and we were given many opportunities of gaining some knowledge of the ecclesiastical life of the two countries.
The Report which we present follows very closely the lines of the Report of the Conferences with the Church of Finland, which has already been accepted, and the situation is somewhat similar to that in Finland. The theological and ecclesiastical problems are, for the most part, the same.
As regards Christian doctrine, there is agreement between the Churches. As we state: "We are of opinion that all three Churches hold the most fundamental doctrines of the Christian Faith." We agree in basing our beliefs on the Scriptures. We agree in accepting the Creeds. We agree in our belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, in the Incarnation and the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. Only as regards the doctrine of justification by Faith there appeared a certain difference of emphasis. That is the case in relation to all Lutheran Churches. We may, however, be content with the position arrived at at Edinburgh, which was unanimously accepted at that Conference.
We agree in accepting the two Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Communion, and the official Eucharistic teaching of these, as of other Lutheran Churches, is certainly not less in accordance with Catholic tradition than that of the Church of England.
As regards Confirmation, there is, as is known, this difference, that in all Lutheran Churches the laying-on of hands must be by the parish priest. There is no rite concerning which there is greater variation in the Christian Church, whether as regards the form, the matter, or the minister, and the usage in Latvia and Estonia conforms to that in Sweden and Finland, which we have already accepted. In all Lutheran Churches the greatest importance is ascribed to Confirmation. The preparation for it is much more severe than it is with us, and the rite occupies as great or a greater place in the life of the Church.
We were present at a Confirmation service at Tallinn, which was followed by the service of Holy Communion, at which the candidates and their parents communicated. The whole service, which was most impressive, occupied nearly three hours. There were some sixty candidates, most of them of the age of seventeen or eighteen. The address was given by the Bishop. Three parish priests laid hands individually on those each had prepared. We satisfied ourselves that always in Confirmation there was a prayer for the gift of the Spirit. In Estonia there is a rule that no one may be married in church who has not been confirmed.
The one matter about which there is some difficulty, as was also the case in our negotiations with Finland, is that of the ministry. In the Lutheran Churches the form of the ministry is looked upon as a matter of indifference. That does not appear to have been the attitude of Luther, who would have wished to preserve Episcopacy, but has arisen from the fact that owing to the course of the Reformation in different countries some Lutheran Churches are Episcopal, some are not. In the Church of Sweden, as is recognised, the Episcopal Succession has been preserved. In Norway and Denmark there are bishops without succession. The Lutheran Church in Germany was formerly under general superintendents; these now receive the name of bishops, but are not consecrated. There has, however, been a desire expressed in some circles that they should be properly consecrated, and that the Church of England should be approached in the matter. It will be remembered that in Finland the succession was accidentally broken, and that the Church of Finland expressed a desire that it might be restored. The provisional agreement made with that Church was based upon that desire that the status of their bishops might be regularised and that the Church of England might assist them by taking part in their consecrations.
The situation is similar in Latvia and Estonia. Whatever may have been the irregularities in the past, both Churches desire to have a regular ministry, and to help, on the basis of that ministry, in building up a united Catholic Church; and it is with the aim of furthering that desire that we hope that the Houses of Convocation will ratify the arrangement that we have made.
There is one thing more that we should desire to report to your Grace. There is in Estonia a considerable Orthodox minority, about 17 per cent. of the population. We were glad to find the most cordial relations existing between the Orthodox and Lutheran Churches., They are cemented together by the memory of a common, martyrdom. When the Bolshevists entered Estonia they murdered in one common slaughter at Tartu the Orthodox Archbishop, many Lutheran pastors, and professors in the University. The place of martyrdom is kept as a common shrine, and united services are held in commemoration. The two Churches also unite together in counteracting the influence of Bolshevist propaganda and in other common services.
Both in Latvia and Estonia during the twenty years of peace which have elapsed since the war the national and Church life has been built up. Many new churches have been built. It seemed to us that it would be a great gain to us and them if we could be associated with the progressive and vigorous life of these two nations and Churches, which are so old and yet so young. [A short account of Latvia and Estonia and their Churches will be found in the Church Quarterly Review for October, 1938.]
My Lord Archbishop,
Yours most sincerely,
A. C. GLOUCESTR:
JOINT REPORT TO THEIR GRACES THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA AND HIS LORDSHIP THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA
WE, the Commission appointed by you to consider the relations of the Church of England and the Churches of Latvia and Estonia with one another, report as follows:
We have considered with great care the agreements and differences in the doctrine and customs of the three Churches, and have to report that on the most fundamental points of doctrine there is agreement. Such relations between the three Churches as we recommend do not require from any of the three Communions the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion or of all sacramental or liturgical practice characteristic of either of the others, but imply that each believes the others to hold the most fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. We are of opinion that all three Churches hold the most fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.
We recommend therefore:
1. That if the Archbishop of Latvia or the Bishop of Estonia shall invite the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a bishop to take part in the consecration of a bishop in either of the Churches of Latvia or Estonia, he shall commission a bishop for such a purpose; and, in the same way, if the Archbishop of Canterbury shall ask the Archbishop of Latvia and the Bishop of Estonia to appoint a bishop to take part in the consecration of a bishop in the Church of England, they shall commission a bishop for such a purpose.
2. The Anglican delegation recommends the admission of communicants of the Churches of Latvia and Estonia to communion in the Church of England, and takes note of the fact that, as it is stated, the Churches of Latvia and Estonia would be ready to admit to communion at their altars communicant members of the Church of England.
The Conference further recommends:
3. That if at the time of the Lambeth Conference or at any other time there shall be a conference between bishops of the Anglican Communion and bishops of other Churches in communion with it, bishops of the Churches of Latvia and Estonia shall be asked to attend it, and that the Churches of Latvia and Estonia shall invite Anglican bishops to similar conferences if they are held in the future.
4. That the Anglican clergy should be ready to baptise and marry members of the Latvian and. Estonian Evangelical Churches in England or in any British colony, and that the clergy of Latvia and Estonia should perform like functions for members of the Anglican Church who have not access to an Anglican clergyman. It is to be desired also that they provide certificates of Baptism and Marriage.
A. C. GLOUCESTER:
A. S. Duncan-Jones (Dean of Chichester)
A. J. Macdonald (Rector of St. Dunstan’s in the West)
Herbert M. Waddams (Chaplain of Liddon House)
H. B. RAHAMAGI (Bishop of Estonia).
F. JÜRGENSON (Provost).
H. KUBU (Provost).
J. AUNVER (Provost).
J. TAUL (Lecturer, Tartu).
A. ROOMEES (General Secretary of the Consistory).
T. GRÜNBERGS (Archbishop of Latvia).
EDG. RUMBA (Lecturer, Riga).
TALLINN, The 24th of June, 193S.
First Session at Lambeth. Tuesday morning, 17th March, 1936.
The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed the Conference in the following speech:
Let me speak a word of welcome to you my brethren from the Churches of Latvia and Estonia.
I give you welcome to my own house, and I was particularly glad to be able to give you the deepest welcome in the celebration of the Holy Communion of our Blessed Lord in the Chapel this morning. That was not only by my own wish, but by the authority of the Church of England in the case of such conferences as these.
I remember that round this table have gathered in recent years representatives of many of the Churches in Christendom. I think of the representatives of our own Protestant Churches here in England,and of the Church of Scotland.
Round this table also have gathered representatives of the Holy Orthodox Church, of the Old Catholic Church and, particularly, of the Church of Sweden. And, most recently, the representatives of that Church which is very akin to your own, the Church of Finland.
In all these cases relations of cordial friendship have been established, and, in some, relations of close communion and even of complete and full communion. It would be a great joy to me if these present conversations could result in similar relations being established between the Anglican Church and the Churches of Latvia and Estonia.
I would remind you that our gathering to-day follows from the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference of 1930, at which attended more than three hundred bishops of the Anglican Church throughout the world.
The Lambeth Conference resolved that I should be asked to appoint a Commission to consider the relations between the Anglican Church and the Church of Finland, and it was suggested that such a Commission might then consider further other Scandinavian and allied Churches. And the Lambeth Conference noted specially that bishops had been consecrated for the Churches of Latvia and Estonia by the Archbishop of Upsala.
Accordingly, I appointed the Commission to consider the relations of the Church of Finland and the Anglican Church and it has produced its Report, and I hope that ere long there may be real communion established between the Anglican and Finnish Churches.
I then went on to follow the advice of the Lambeth Conference and to ask members of the same Commission to consider relations between ourselves and the Churches of Latvia and Estonia. As the Archbishop will remember, this was done at his own desire, and, when I gladly fulfilled that desire, then the Church of Estonia asked to be allowed to accompany the Church of Latvia.
You will regard these conversations as part of that effort towards the fuller union of the Church of Christ to which the Anglican Church feels that it is committed. We believe that we have been able, by God's providence, to maintain all that is essential in the great Catholic tradition of Christendom, while, by our circumstances, we are closely connected with the various Protestant communions throughout the world. And it is therefore our hope that we may be, by God's goodness, allowed to bring into Protestant Churches a fuller measure of Catholic faith and order, and into these Churches which have retained the full Catholic faith and order some of the fervour of the Protestant Churches.
Our ideal is that there should, in God's providence, be created a visible unity of the now separated Churches of Christ; not uniformity, but each keeping its own traditions within the fellowship of one Faith and one Order.
If your conversations round this table and your concourse here can go one step further towards the fulfilment of that ideal, we shall give God thanks.
REPLY OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA
The Archbishop of Latvia thanked His Grace for his words of welcome and the hospitality he had shown them.
They had come to England with a desire to draw closer to the English Church. The Church in their country had had no smooth path in late years. They had had hard struggles against godlessness and indifference. They were glad to come into contact with other Christians who were prepared to assist them. They hoped and believed and prayed that the unity which had been realised among other Churches might be achieved between them and the Anglican Communion also.
The external form of their services and aspect of Church life might differ. But they had the same essential beliefs, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One Love of God.
Once more he thanked the authorities of the Church of England, which had included their small country and young Church within its interest. As they began their journey they prayed God that the Spirit of Unity would indeed join them in one in the performance of God's will. They trusted they might return to their country strengthened in this faith and in closer fellowship.
REPLY OF THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA
“That they may be one as we are one."
Very different had been the history of Christ's Church, which had been constantly divided and was still divided to-day. He was therefore the more grateful to the Archbishop for his invitation to take part in an effort to find closer Christian unity.
Three dangers faced the Church of Estonia to-day. From the East there was an influence which was atheist and promoted wickedness—the influence of communism. From the South came the danger of Roman propaganda. From the West they had to combat the influence of those who would interpret Christianity in an entirely novel sense—the Christianity of the Germans.
The invitation to come to England at such a moment was a reminder to them that they did not stand alone. This was to him a reason for profound gratitude.
When the Estonians wanted freedom they received assistance from His Majesty the King, and in their Cathedral they had been able to take a part in the commemoration of the late King as well as sending delegates to his funeral in England.
He brought to them and their great nation and Church the best wishes of the Estonian Church and nation.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
I am sure I am speaking for my brethren of the Anglican Church when I say how much touched we have been by what you have been good enough to say to us. We have been very deeply touched to know of all the hardships and sufferings through which both your Church and people have passed during these recent years.
We, in this country, by God's providence, have enjoyed long years of peace and protection through which our Church has been sustained for more than thirteen hundred years, and we feel it to be a very real privilege to be allowed to bring you within the friendship both of our Church and of our land. You may be sure that it moves us much to receive you representing your own Churches, and that we shall hope, whatever results from these conversations, there shall be established a very warm friendship and fellowship between the Church of England and the Churches of Latvia and Estonia. We venture to pray and hope that in God's good time friendship and fellowship may result in an even closer union.
When the time comes for you to go I shall hope to be able to send greetings with you to your peoples, but meanwhile I am obliged to leave the conduct-of these conversations in the hands of my brother, the Bishop of Gloucester, who will take the chair. But I shall hear of the progress of your conversations and shall be remembering you all the while in my own thoughts and prayers.
So I thank you for coming, and I leave your conversations to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER called attention to the basis laid down by the Lambeth Conference on which the Anglican Church was required to conduct negotiations with other Churches. He submitted a printed statement describing this basis of negotiations. It was agreed that the discussions should deal with the attitude of their respective Churches
(a) to Scripture;
(b) to the Creeds;
(c) to the Sacraments;
(d) to the Ministry.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA gave certain information about the position of his Church and laid before the conference various documents illustrative of this. (See Appendix.)
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA said that in his country 73.46 per cent. of the population was Lettish in nationality, 55.6 Evangelical by religion, 23.6 Roman Catholic, 8.9 Orthodox, 5.9 Old Believers, 4.9 Jews, and 3.4 others.
It was explained that from 1621 to 1710 the northern parts of Latvia were under Swedish rule. The southern part of the country was under the protection of Poland. These districts were governed ecclesiastically by general superintendents. The first bishop was elected in 1922 and consecrated by Archbishop Söderblom and the Bishop of Estonia. He retired in 1931 and the present Archbishop was elected in the following year. He was, however, installed and not consecrated either by his predecessor or by a Swedish bishop. They could not say what would happen in the future with reference to the consecration of the Archbishop before the Synod of the Clergy had met.
In Estonia there had been bishops at Tallinn throughout the period of Swedish rule. Under the Russian domination the government of the Church was in the hands of general superintendents, but the real control was exercised by lay German magnates.
After the war, Bishop Kuk was consecrated by Archbishop Söderblom, and the present bishop was consecrated in 1934 by the Archbishop of Upsala and the Finnish Bishop Lehtonen and the Archbishop of Latvia.
It was further stated that the history of the two Churches was identical in Russian times and until 1920 they had exactly the same service books.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER read Article VI.
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.
Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books.
The First Book of Samuel.
The Second Book of Samuel.
The First Book of Kings.
The Second Book of Kings.
The First Book of Chronicles.
The Second Book of Chronicles.
The First Book of Esdras.
The Second Book of Esdras.
The Book of Esther.
The Book of Job.
Ecclesiastes, or the Preacher.
Cantica, or Songs of Solomon.
Four Prophets the Greater.
Twelve Prophets the Less.
And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:
The Third Book of Esdras.
The Fourth Book of Esdras.
The Book of Tobias.
The Book of Judith.
The rest of the Book of Esther.
The Book of Wisdom.
Jesus the Son of Sirach.
Baruch the Prophet.
The Song of the Three Children.
The Story of Susanna.
Of Bel and the Dragon.
The Prayer of Manasses.
The First Book of Maccabees.
The Second Book of Maccabees.
All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them canonical.
All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.
He said there were two points to be considered here:
(i.) the sufficiency of the Scripture;
(ii.) the canon of Scripture.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA made the following statement:
The Confessional basis of the Doctrine of the Lutheran Church of Estonia is the Scriptures of the Prophets and Apostles of the New and Old Testaments and the so-called Symbolical Books which explain them, the Apostolic and Nicene creeds, the creed of Athanasius, the unaltered Confession of Faith of Augsburg and the other writings belonging to the collection, called “Liber Concordiae.”
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA stated that the canonical books of the Old and the New Testaments were the unique foundation of the faith of his Church.
New and better translations of the Bible in Estonia and of the New Testament in Latvia were in the course of preparation. Systematic study of the Scriptures formed part of the regular course in the Theological Faculty of the University of Tartu, which dated from the time of Gustavus Adolphus, and the Evangelical Theological Faculty which was originally constituted in 1921 in the University of Riga.
In both Churches the Apocrypha was read and esteemed. It was contained in those versions of the Bible which were printed in their own countries, though not in the translations which emanated from the British and Foreign Bible Society. The Apocrypha was not, however, read in church in the course of Divine Service.
THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH
Article XX. was read.
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said this Article meant that the Church of England recognised authority in the Councils of the Church, but that it put Scripture in the first place. He enquired what was the attitude of the Latvian and Estonian Churches towards the Oecumenical Councils of the Church.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA explained the discipline of the Church of Estonia in matters of faith. The creeds of the Councils were used in Divine Worship. In reply to Mr. Moss, it was explained that the authority of the four General Councils was definitely recognised in the Confessio Augustana and the Liber Concordiae.
Article XXXIV. was read and explained.
It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, and utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversities of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever through his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like), as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.
Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying.
PROVOST KUNDZINS stated that liturgical tradition was vital and growing and capable of development. They fully agreed that individuals ought not to infringe the traditions of the Church.
(B) THE CREEDS
It was found in discussion that there was no difference as to the authority of the Nicene, Apostles' and Athanasian Creeds, which were fully recognised in the formularies of both Churches.
THE DEAN OF CHICHESTER pointed out that the Anglican communion distinguished between the screeds of the universal Church and local confessions, such as the Thirty-nine Articles or the Augustana. He enquired whether the Latvian and Estonian representatives agreed with this distinction.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA replied that every Sunday in church they recited the Apostles' Creed, on great feasts the Nicene Creed. The local confessions were a basis of teaching but not part of Divine Worship.
The representatives of the Churches of Estonia and Latvia professed their agreement with the following statement:
“As regards the Creed, the intention of the Lambeth Conferences has been that the fundamental doctrines of the Faith as contained in the Creeds are sufficient basis for re-union. As regards the secondary formulae of Christianity, such as the Articles of Religion, the Confessions of the Lutheran Church, such as the Confession of Augsburg, and so on, the attitude may be that each Church may preserve its own formulae as the declaration of its basis of doctrine, but that no Church should seek to impose its own particular Confessions on other Churches.”
DR. RAVEN enquired whether the teaching of the Church in England about Justification would be considered satisfactory by the Estonian and Latvian Churches. It was answered that Justification by Faith played a great part in the devotional life of these countries, as was shown by the answers required of candidates at Confirmation. They were, however, satisfied with the adequacy of the statement contained in Article XI. of the Thirty-nine Articles.
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings; Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
Second Session at Lambeth. Tuesday afternoon, 17th March, 1936.
(C) THE SACRAMENTS
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA handed in the forms of service for the administration of Baptism and the Consecration and administration of Holy Communion. (See Appendix.) It was stated that the Orders of Baptism and Communion were the same in both Churches.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER stated that the Church of England recognised two Sacraments only as generally necessary for salvation—Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. But the word “sacrament” was sometimes used also for the sacred rites of Orders, Confirmation, Penance and Matrimony, in which they believed that Grace was given to the Christian.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA replied that in their Churches these would be called holy rites, but the word "sacrament" would not be applied to them.
It was explained that in the Churches of Latvia and Estonia the imposition of hands was an invariable part of the baptismal rite and that it preceded the affusion of water.
MR. Moss enquired what was the relationship between Baptism and Justification.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA stated that in Baptism the candidate was made a child of God and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven, but that it depended upon the child what use it would make of the gifts thus bestowed upon it. Baptism is God's gift, and in it is included the bestowal of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ.
PROVOST KUNDZINS explained that Confirmation must always be administered in the parish where the candidate lived, since it consisted of his personal tendering of his allegiance to Christ as well as his admission to the rights of full membership in the life of the Church.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA explained that the imposition of hands with a blessing formed an invariable part of the rite of Confirmation, and that it took place after the candidate had been put in mind of his full Christian duty.
MR. Moss enquired whether Confirmation could be in any way regarded as a gift of God.
PROVOST KUNDZINS replied that every religious act was such and could only be such because it was God's gift. Chrism in the Orthodox Church was also regarded as a gift of God, but in a different sense from that which they believe about their own Confirmation. Confirmation was administered to Orthodox persons who became Lutherans as Chrism would be administered to Lutherans who might become Orthodox. Elderly persons could be received by simple admission to Communion.
A preparation consisting of confession of sins and absolution with imposition of hands always took place at celebrations of the Lord's Supper before the administration of Communion.
Private confession still existed and forms were provided for it, but it was not very widely used.
The representatives of Latvia and Estonia agreed that Article XII. of the Confessio Augustana represented their point of view:
De poenitentia docent, quod lapsis post baptismum contingere possit remissio peccatorum quocunque tempore, cum convertuntur, et quod ecclesia talibus redeuntibus ad poenitentiam absolutionem impertiri debeat. Constat autem poenitentia proprie his duabus partibus. Altera est contritio seu terrores incussi conscientio agnito peccato; altera est fides, quae concipitur ex evangelio seu absolutione et credit propter Christum remitti peccata et consolatur conscientiam et ex terroribus liberat. Deinde sequi debent bona opera, quae suet fructus poenitentiee.
It was explained that the Churches of Latvia and Estonia did not regard marriage as a sacrament but as a holy rite. They distinguished between civil and ecclesiastical marriage.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA said that they insisted on ecclesiastical marriage for their people. To contract a civil marriage if no ecclesiastical marriage followed meant that the persons doing so were leaving the social life of the Church.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LAFVIA stated that persons who had contracted a civil marriage would have to obtain permission from high ecclesiastical authority before their children could be baptised.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER enquired whether divorce was permitted and how divorced persons were treated.
It was explained that the treatment of divorced persons constituted a very difficult problem because the civil authorities in Latvia and Estonia had after the war recognised very wide grounds for divorce.
In Latvia the situation was disquieting because there was no recognised rule at present by which the ecclesiastical authorities determined whether or not divorced persons could be remarried or admitted to Communion. It was largely at the discretion of individual pastors.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA stated that the Theological Conference of the Church of Estonia had decided that they must insist on knowing the grounds upon which divorce had been granted before the persons concerned could apply for remarriage in church.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA stated that the guilty party in a divorce suit would not be permitted to contract another ecclesiastical marriage.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER stated that divorce in England also constituted a difficult problem because many persons who had obtained a divorce resented the Church refusing to solemnise a further ecclesiastical marriage. The custom of a great majority of English bishops was that divorced persons, no matter on what grounds they had been divorced, could not be remarried in church, but that the innocent party in a divorce suit who subsequently remarried, if the bishop was thoroughly satisfied of his or her genuine innocence, might be admitted to Communion.
Third Session at Lambeth. Wednesday morning, 18th March, 1936.
(C) THE SACRAMENTS (continued)
THE HOLY COMMUNION
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER enquired whether the Eucharistic doctrine of the Churches of Latvia and Estonia was that contained in the Lutheran Confessional Books.
The answer was given that their teaching was to be found in Article X. of the Confessio Augustana:
De coena Domini docent quod corpus et sanguis Christi vere adsint et distribuantur vescentibus in coena Domini; et improbant secus docentes.
Their popular instruction was that of Luther's Shorter Catechism:
Quid est sacramentum altaris?
Sacramentum altaris est verum corpus et verus sanguis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, sub pane et vino, nobis christianis ad manducandum ac bibendum ab ipso Christo institutum.
PROVOST KUNDZINS said that at one time men tended to distinguish too sharply between body and soul. In St. John's Gospel it was not only the spirit but the body which was to be redeemed and raised up. Nowadays this was taught in a mystical fashion, and their teaching about the Eucharistic presence should be of the same kind.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER pointed out that there was much variety of teaching in the Church of England about the Holy Communion. One side came very near to the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation; with others the teaching was nearer to that of Zwingli.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA said that their Eucharistic teaching was a via media between the Roman Catholic doctrine and Zwinglianism. The Eucharist was not merely a memorial but Christ's gift of His own self.
It was found that there was substantial agreement about the doctrine of the Eucharist.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA said that the two great centres of their Liturgy were preaching the word and the giving of Communion.
In the Liturgy there were proper Collects, Epistles and Gospels provided, though considerable freedom was allowed in the selection of them.
In Estonia there was an alternative and enriched Liturgy which could be used with the permission of the bishop.
PROVOST KUNDZINS said that some persons in Latvia wished to enrich their Liturgy, but he and the Archbishop of Latvia stressed the fact that they already possessed everything that was essential.
It was stated that the priest, when he celebrated, could communicate it he so desired, but that he rarely did so. The reason for this practice was the close association of receiving Communion with the previous confession of sin in their Church. Most priests preferred to communicate on occasions when they knelt and confessed as penitents with their congregation and another priest celebrated.
If any of the sacred Elements remained after Communion, they were put aside and used at the next celebration.
In big parishes Communion was normally administered every Sunday; in small parishes usually about once a month. On certain days, such as Good Friday and New Year's Eve, celebrations of Holy Communion were universal. The usual hour for a Sunday celebration was at Divine Service in the morning at 10 or 11 o'clock.
Since it was necessary for communicants to give notice beforehand if they wished to communicate, it was easy to discover whether the celebration would be required or not.
Fasting Communion was very common, especially in country districts, and the presence of non-communicants at celebrations was customary.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA stated that the Theological Conference of his Church had been discussing the question whether there ought to be celebration of Holy Communion at every Sunday morning service.
Attention was called to the following prayer, which was used at the Consecration in the Churches of Latvia and Estonia:
We beseech Thee, O merciful heavenly Father: Bless the holy Supper unto all those who eat and drink of that Bread and that Cup, and also thereby receive the Body and the Blood of Thine only begotten Son, our Saviour, according to His promise.
Similar explanations were given about the current Eucharistic practice of the Church of England. It was stated that celebrations of Holy Communion every Sunday were held in almost all English churches. In many churches two, three or even four celebrations took place on Sundays, and in many churches also there was a daily celebration. The rule that the communicant should give notice to the priest beforehand, while contained in the Rubrics, was universally disregarded. This made the giving of reliable information about the number of communicants and frequency of communions very difficult.
The Conference then discussed various practical questions.
Information was given as to the numbers of Estonians and Latvians living abroad in foreign countries and the spiritual provision made for them. A number of questions were answered about the organisation and daily life of the Church of England.
Fourth Session at Lambeth. Thursday morning, 19th March, 1936.
(D) THE MINISTRY
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER stated that he understood the Lutherans did not regard episcopacy as a matter of very great importance. To Anglicans, however, episcopacy was a highly important matter. They had sometimes been criticised for this attitude of theirs, especially at meetings of the World Conference on Faith and Order. The majority of them were, however, quite definite because, though they had guarded themselves against giving sanction to the belief of a minority that sacraments without an episcopally ordained ministry were without spiritual value, they were convinced that no permanent and sound reunion could be effected except on a basis of a unified ministry, which meant the acceptance of what was generally known as the Historic Episcopate.
A strong Christian unity was required in order to protect the Church in many countries against the assaults of the totalitarian State. This unity could be best secured by a minim which preserved the traditional rules and system of ordination of the Christian Church. The source of these rules was the tradition of the undivided Church.
THE DEAN OF CHICHESTER said that their first duty was to preserve the traditional order of the undivided Church. It was only by returning to that tradition that unity could be effected, though they recognised that the ministry of non-episcopal Churches had been blessed by God.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER stated that the minister of every sacrament was Christ Himself; that it was for that reason they were unable to believe that Christ would deny His blessing to those who sincerely sought Him.
THE DEAN OF CHICHESTER said that they considered that the ministry of the Word and Sacraments was something which, like the Creeds and the Bible, belonged to the essential life of the Church.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA referred to Article XIV. of the Confessio Augustana:
De ordine ecclesiastico docent, quod nemo debeat in ecclesia publice docere aut sacramenta administrare, nisi rite vocatus.
Luther insisted that the minister must be rite vocatus. The Christian community to-day itself was lawfully descended from the original Christian community. He emphasised that the ministry came from Christ Himself.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that the tradition, which had been preserved through the continuous life of the community, was strengthened by the tradition and succession of the ministry.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA said that they first found “episkopoi” in the New Testament. It was because of this that in Estonia at the present time they had reintroduced episcopacy instead of the system of general superintendents. The bishop was the leader of the Church and ordained other members of the community to their offices.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA said they did not lay their principal emphasis on the succession of the episcopate. Pastors ordained by general superintendents had the same rights as those ordained by bishops. But they valued the episcopal office and they would value succession if it tended to strengthen the episcopate. So far the Archbishop had been installed, but the question of his consecration could not be decided before the next meeting of the Synod. The German minority in Latvia, like the Germans of the Reich, was suspicious of episcopacy.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA informed the conference that he had been consecrated according to the Swedish rite by Archbishop Eidem of Upsala, Bishop Lehtonen of Tampere and Archbishop Grünbergs of Latvia. He had four episcopal vicars to assist him in his administration, but they did not receive episcopal consecration. The bishop could delegate his authority to ordain if necessary to a pastor. In considering this rule, it must be remembered that there was only one bishop in Estonia. In practice, he himself always ordained.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said there was a real difference here between the Church of England and the Churches of Latvia and Estonia. In England a priest could in no circumstances ordain, though presbyters joined with the bishop in the imposition of hands at the ordination of a priest. Supposing that it was possible to effect a closer union between the Church of England and the Churches of Latvia and Estonia, the question might be considered of extending an invitation to an Anglican bishop to assist in a future consecration. In Anglican ordinations they claimed to ordain bishops, priests and deacons to an office in the universal Church of Christ and not merely in a particular Church.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA said that their intention was the same though it was not so clearly expressed in their formularies.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said their aim should be to reach a state of affairs in which a priest of the Church of England would be recognised as a priest in the Churches of Latvia and Estonia and that a priest of those Churches would be recognised as such in the Church of England. In so far as they succeeded in spreading this establishment of an recognised ministry throughout the whole Church, so would general reunion become possible.
MR. Moss enquired to what office persons were ordained; this was not mentioned in the service.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA said that a man was primarily ordained to the cure of a particular parish or community, but he had the right to be moved elsewhere to a new parish and would not require further ordination for this purpose.
PROVOST KUNDZINS stated that while among them the commission given in ordination was in formal terms narrower than in the Church of England, in reality the commission was wider than would appear from the formularies. In war-time, if their people had been unable to receive Communion from their own clergy they had been in the habit of seeking it from Russian Orthodox priests, and Russians in the same way came to their clergy.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA said that in the past great emphasis had been laid on Luther's particular words. Nowadays they laid greater emphasis on Christ's own words than on those of even the greatest of His servants. Hence, they regarded ordination as an ordination to office in the whole Church of Christ.
DR. RUMBA said that while Anglicans laid stress on the three orders of ministry, Lutherans chiefly regarded the difference between bishop and presbyter as one of function and activity rather than one of order. In practice ordinations were performed by the bishop.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA stated that they laid stress on the universal priesthood of believers. At his ordination the candidate's priesthood was, as it were, directed to the particular office for which he was ordained. In ordination the work was not the work of the officiant but of Christ.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER quoted the definition of an Anglican theologian that the priesthood of the clergy is "the ministerial order of the Church's priesthood."
It was stated that in the Churches of Latvia and Estonia the diaconate did not exist as an order of ministry, but that there was the office of a deacon.
PROVOST KUNDZINS held that they really were not so far apart from one another, but that Anglicans gave a more special position to the episcopate.
THE DEAN OF CHICHESTER said that they valued the episcopate and priesthood as the outward and visible sign of the spiritual descent of the Church from the Apostles.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER stated that the succession of the ministry strengthened and confirmed the succession of the Church.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA asked what was the position of the Church of England about the priesthood of the laity.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER replied that they had no rule which would govern the case of a body of Christian people being for a prolonged period deprived of the ministrations of a priest. By a majority the Anglican bishops at Lambeth had recommended that where overseas the sacraments celebrated by an episcopally ordained minister could not be obtained, the faithful would be justified in having recourse to the sacraments of nonepiscopal bodies. This represented the traditional Anglican point of view towards those Continental Protestants who had lost episcopacy not through their own fault at the Reformation. Such bodies had not been regarded as having separated themselves from the Church.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA held that where there vas no priest a layman could celebrate in emergencies. Sacraments were not given by us, they were given by God.
But both the Bishop of Estonia and Provost Kundzins stated that their people had the highest sense of the importance of securing a properly ordained clergyman to minister to them.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER stated that both sides had now fully put forward their points of view. They had not yet been able to reach any definite conclusion. This was a preliminary and a preparatory conference. They had obtained the necessary information for both sides to consider what further action was possible. After a reasonable time for such consideration had elapsed, he hoped it would be possible to hold another conference at which he prayed that they might reach satisfactory conclusions.
(Signed) PHILIP USHER. EDGAR RUMBA. JAAK TAUL.
First Session at Riga. Saturday, 18th June, 1938.
The Archbishop of Latvia welcomed the Conference in the following speech:
I feel it an honour to welcome our guests from England and Estonia and have great pleasure in doing so. As our guests you will make acquaintance with the economic and cultural life of this country. You will see what has been done by the government and the people in the last twenty years in healing the wounds of the war. I hope that you will see and feel that we have done all that is possible. But especially I should like to greet you, dear guests, as delegates from the Archbishop of Canterbury to continue the conference begun in London two years ago. There are four chief questions for our consideration: (i.) Holy Scripture, (ii.) the Creeds, (iii.) the Sacraments and (iv.) the Ministry.
It was not difficult to come to an understanding on the first three questions. And this was natural because Holy Scripture is our common foundation. The Creeds, too, are the common foundation of our faith. The Sacraments showed no essential difference in our opinions. As I understand it, we are now going on to consider our views on the Ministry. There is always force and power in union, and we want to attain to the reunion of the Christian Church. We have one God and Father in Heaven whom we adore. We have one Saviour and Lord and we confess Him. We have one faith in the Living Triune God. We have one Head and are members of one Body, Jesus Christ. That is to say, we have one common and firm foundation. Jesus Christ is the corner stone in your Church as in ours. Historical obstacles have led to the differences in the different construction of the Churches, and since we have such a firm common foundation, we may express the hope that we may come, not only to inner but also to outer union. I hope, therefore, that our common basis can be the wards of Eph. iv. 3-6:
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
This is our one and common foundation, and we base our work on this, hoping that, bound together, we may struggle against and conquer all enemies of the Church and of the work of Christ to-day, knowing there is one power and victor—Jesus Christ.
The Archbishop ended with prayer.
REPLY OF THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER
My Lord Archbishop, my Lord Bishop and Gentlemen.
It is a very great pleasure and privilege to us to be able to return the visit which the Archbishop of Latvia and the Bishop of Estonia paid to us in England two years ago. We have very pleasant reminiscences of that visit, and in particular I remember how you came to stay with me in Gloucester and I enjoyed the pleasure of entertaining you. I should like to say first with what sympathy and interest we come to visit these countries which have restored to themselves their own national life. We admire and wonder at the way in which through many vicissitudes you have preserved your language, nation, religion and traditions, and we are delighted to see these young and flourishing countries built on the basis of liberty and religion. I should heartily reciprocate all that the Lord Archbishop has said with regard to our previous Conference. Of the four points which we discussed, on the first three points there was absolute and real unity between us. We do not desire uniformity because we believe that different nations and peoples present different aspects of the one Christianity. But on the great fundamentals of the Catholic Faith we are united. We now come in these conferences to discuss the question of Order and Ministry, and I think that probably owing to our history the aspects which these questions present are rather different in the English and Lutheran countries. It is sometimes thought that we in England lay too much stress on these questions. But all our experience tells us that when we look at the question of the union of the Church, matters of Order are of great importance. We hope and pray, therefore, that we may come together in unity of spirit to discuss these questions in Christian charity. And we pray that God's Holy Spirit may give us the wisdom to conduct our negotiations rightly.
The Bishop ended with a prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
REPLY OF THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA
Archbishop, Beloved and honoured Brethren from England and Latvia.
I thank you in the name of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Estonia for the invitations to us as delegates to come here and continue the work we started in London two years ago. Especially I thank the Archbishop of Latvia for the greeting he has given to us and the English delegation.
It seems to me to be the will of God that the two Churches together should have these deliberations with the Anglican Church. The Lutheran Churches in Latvia and Estonia are historically very near together. Not only in that our States celebrate their twentieth anniversary in the same year, but we are very happy that our Churches work together to fulfil the task of God. Therefore we are happy, and thank God that the deliberations begun in London are going on here in this beautiful capital of Latvia. And we hope that we may continue the work begun here in our own capital, Tallinn.
At the beginning of the Conference I want to quote one word of Christ—“Behold I am with you even unto the end of the world." We may be sure that He is here with us, and we may hope and pray that His Holy Spirit is with us and will bless our work.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen."
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA hoped that the programme would be strictly adhered to, and declared the Conference open. A statement by the Swedish Lutheran Bishops was put in to the Conference as representing the views of the Latvian Church. It was suggested that this statement should form a basis of discussion. The statement was as follows:
“No particular organisation of the Church and of its Ministry is instituted jure divino. The object of any organisation and of the whole ministry being included in the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments (cf. Confessio Augustana, Article V.), our Church cannot recognise any essential difference de jure divine of aim and authority between the two or three Orders into which the ministry of grace may have been divided, jure humano, for the benefit and convenience of the Church.
“The value of every organisation of the ministerium ecclesiasticum, and of the Church in general, is only to be judged by its fitness and ability to become a pure vessel for the supernatural contents, and a perfect channel for the way of Divine Revelation unto mankind.
“That doctrine in no wise makes our Church indifferent to the organisation and the forms of ministry which the cravings and experiences of the Christian community have produced under the guidance of the Spirit in the course of history. We do not only regard the peculiar forms and traditions of a Church with a reverence due to a venerable legacy from the past, but we realise in them a blessing from the God of history accorded to us."
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER pointed out that the Ministry was recognised as a gift of God through Jesus Christ to the Church. He quoted the words of St. Paul, "He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers" (Eph. iv. 11).
He said there were two things to notice:
1. The Ministry as ministry comes from God to the Church.
2. The original form was different from the form in any Church at the present time.
The form of the Ministry is the result of Christian history. There are no special injunctions in Scripture ordering any particular form. Not all persons in the Church of England are agreed as to the exact authority of episcopacy, but there is no difference on the practical question that episcopacy must be the basis for reunion. It did not seem satisfactory to say that the Ministry was merely jure humano; it has been built up in the Church by the influence of the Holy Spirit.
The historical Ministry with the Apostolical Succession forms a basis for the union of the Church, a unity with past generations and a unity with the Church throughout the world at the present time.
With regard to the salvation of mankind Order is indifferent, and also the Church does not consist only of those of episcopal ministry but of all faithful people throughout the world, though they are unfortunately divided by schism.
The Bishop then made a statement concerning the relation of the validity of the sacraments to the institution of episcopacy. The discussion was complicated by the fact that the word "validity" had at least two meanings. It could either mean "canonical" or "spiritually efficacious," and by confusing these two ideas a great deal of misconception was created. Those who deny the validity of the Sacraments in a canonical sense are then supposed to deny that they have any spiritual efficacy. Although there is a section in the Church of England which holds the necessity of episcopacy for the administration of the Sacraments in a rigid form, the opinion of the Anglican Communion is represented by the statement of the Lambeth Conference, which fully recognised the spiritual value of the Ministry of those who have not episcopacy.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY, after expressing his pleasure at being able to attend the Conference, said that he was in general agreement with the statement of the Bishop of Gloucester. He thought that the distinction between jus divinum and jus humanum was drawn too sharply in the Swedish Bishops' statement, and that it was a mistake to make it in that way. He also thought that the definition of the object of the Ministry was too narrow, and that it should also be regarded as an organ for pastoral government and an organ of Church unity.
The Bishop then proposed to bring forward the report entitled "Doctrine in the Church of England." The history of the report and of the Chairman of the Commission was explained and also the attitude of both Upper Houses of Convocation. It was pointed out that it was not an official or canonical document, but nevertheless carried great weight.
The Bishop then read a large part of the section of the report dealing with episcopacy (pp. 121-123).
The report drew attention to five points (see Appendix) which when taken together would help to a realisation of the importance and value of the bishop's office. The Bishop said that whatever form the Ministry took, the transition from one form to another and from one generation to another should be done by the bestowal of commission by those who have received commission to do so.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA said that there were different shades of feeling and thought in the Evangelical lands, but that in fundamentals they came back to the confessions of faith. The confessional writings (see Appendix) always refer to real bishops, and Luther always presupposes episcopacy. The only question that was before them was, What is a true bishop? The Bishop said that he agreed with much of the Bishop of Derby's remarks. They would have been very glad to have kept continuity, but in practice it was impossible. Continuity should not be so emphasised that the emphasis on the Gospel is excluded. The latter is the most important.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY enquired whether a bishop ceased to be a bishop when he acted in an unevangelical way.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA replied by referring to the first chapter of Acts. He said that they would welcome the Apostolical Succession so long as it was not regarded as the means of salvation.
THE BISHOP OF FULHAM wished to emphasise that "Doctrine in the Church of England" was in no way to be regarded as an official statement of the doctrinal position of the Church of England, but a record of opinions held by groups of people within it.
Second Session at Riga. Monday, 20th June, 1938.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA proposed that the five points from the Doctrinal Report should be considered.
PROFESSOR MALDONIS said that these five points described as functions of the bishop things which in the Evangelical Church are the functions of every pastor. Every pastor has the right to be a shepherd of the flock and to administer the Sacraments jure divino. The pastors as a body themselves choose the bishop (formerly general superintendent). The Lutherans understand succession in that sense; he would like to ask what the Anglicans meant by the succession.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER replied that it is certain that already in the second century the power of ordination was put into the hands of the bishop. The reason of this was to preserve the unity of the Church. The body of presbyters met together and with the whole congregation elected their bishop, and then the bishops from neighbouring churches came together and joined in the consecration. In that way the bishop became not merely the bishop of a local church, but of the universal Church. And as all bishops had been consecrated by bishops before them, the link was established with the Church of the past as well as with the Church of the day. In this way the episcopal office is the great sign of the catholicity and continuity of the Christian Church. For over a thousand years until the Reformation all bishops and clergy were ordained in that way, and we should conform to what was the custom and rule of the universal Church.
A discussion followed on the historical questions of the Ministry; the facts of the Reformation in England with regard to the retention of the Apostolic Succession were explained by Dr. Macdonald. Professor Maldonis said that there was no opposition from the Lutheran side to the office of bishop as such. The Bishops of Gloucester and Derby emphasised that it was important to repair what had been broken as soon as possible.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER added that the Conference had reached the point where all agreed that the historic episcopate was desirable for the sake of union. The Church of England has no theory or theology of episcopacy, but it says quite clearly that all bishops are to be properly consecrated by other bishops, and all clergy are to be ordained by bishops. That is the point on which all must agree in the Conference.
In reply to Professor Maldonis, he continued that all would agree that reordination is not a good thing, nor was it practised in the seventeenth century in the temporary union between the Churches of England and Scotland. The Church of England thinks it desirable that for the future there should be a proper consecration of all bishops, and would be very glad to help in that. It does not condemn the past but looks forward to organised unity in the future.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA raised the question of differences of outlook between the Churches in such matters as Confirmation.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that as regards Confirmation there is a great variety of custom in the Christian Church. There was no desire on the part of the Church of England to alter the Confirmation customs of other Churches.
PROFESSOR MALDONIS said that in the Latvian Church pastors are ordained by the bishop, but could be ordained by a dean, and that they would like to retain this custom.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that that was the difficulty. The same problem had arisen in Finland, but the Anglican delegation had been assured that in practice a dean would not ordain. It seemed to him that the best solution was to increase the number of bishops in Latvia.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY asked whether Professor Maldonis thought that there was any principle lying behind the occasional ordination by a dean, which was not safeguarded by the co-operation of presbyters with the bishop at ordinations.
PROFESSOR MALDONIS said that the right of a dean to ordain was founded on the universal priesthood of all believers.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER replied that the universal priesthood includes the laity also, who have not the right to lay on hands. The bishop is the ministerial organ of the Church's priesthood. For the sake of order the principal minister of ordination should be the bishop, though there must always be priests associated with him.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA said that it is laid down in the Church Law of Estonia that the bishop ordains, and it is always so done, but other pastors take part.
It was pointed out that ordination by a dean had only taken place in a few exceptional cases.
PROVOST JÜRGENSON drew attention to Article VII. in the Confessio Augustana (see Appendix) and to Ephesians iv. He said there was no emphasis here on the importance of the office.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that the Sacraments are duly administered if done by those ministers appointed in the Church for that purpose. Part of that appointment is episcopal consecration or ordination.
THE BISHOP OF FULHAM quoted the Twenty-third Article of Religion: Of Ministering in the Congregation.
It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of publick preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.
DR. TAUL referred to page 47 of the report of the negotiations with the Church of Finland:
“The Twenty-third Article was ambiguous. It might mean that the proper ministers of ordination were those who had already authority to ordain—i.e., the bishops. It could also be held to mean that anyone was competent to ordain if he was commissioned by the Church to do so.”
It seemed to him that the Church of England in theory would allow presbyters to ordain in emergency.
THE BISHOP OF FULHAM drew attention to the Preface to the Ordinal:
It is evident unto all men diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ's Church; Bishops, Priests and Deacons. Which Offices were evermore had in such reverend Estimation, that no man might presume to execute any of them, except he were first called, tried, examined, and known to have such qualities as are requisite for the same; and also by publick Prayer, with Imposition of Hands, were approved and admitted thereunto by lawful Authority. And therefore, to the intent that these Orders may be continued, and reverently used and esteemed, in the Church of England; no man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful Bishop, Priest, or Deacon in the Church of England, or suffered to execute any of the said Functions, except he be called, tried, examined, and admitted thereunto, according to the Form hereafter following, or bath had formerly Episcopal Consecration, or Ordination.
PROVOST JÜRGENSON said that the question is whether the validity of the Sacraments depends on a correct form of ordination. The form is a practical and secondary consideration and it is impossible to make what is necessary for salvation depend on such a matter.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER referred to the distinction which he had made between the two meanings of the word "validity." He quoted the words of Ignatius: "No Eucharist is secure (bebaia) without the bishop."
THE DEAN OF CHICHESTER said that the Sacrament of the Eucharist is the Sacrament of unity. Because of this, when the Sacrament is received in union with the largest number of fellow Christians, such reception has an enhanced religious and spiritual value. This state is attained only when the minister represents the largest possible Christian body.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY referred to a case of irregular ordination mentioned by the Bishop of Estonia, and said that in the Church of England it would have been necessary for his orders to be regularised as soon as possible. The Church of England only required re-ordination in the case of ministers from nonepiscopal communions. The restoration of the traditional episcopal Ministry is one step towards the ideal that every minister should have behind him the explicit authorisation of the whole of Christendom.
There was a discussion as to the procedure if a Swedish presbyter were to desire to minister in the Church of England.
DR. GRÜNER drew a distinction between the spiritual value of the bishop's office and its canonical and legal aspects. He wished to emphasise the agreement about its spiritual value. The essential concept is the function of oversight rather than the particular office of a bishop. Could not the function of oversight be exercised as well in the Lutheran tradition as in the Anglican?
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that it was not necessary to express an opinion on the theoretical question, but from a practical point of view episcopacy was necessary for Church unity.
THE DEAN OF CHICHESTER referred to the position of the Church in Germany, and asked whether the organisation of the Church was its spiritual concern.
PROFESSOR MALDONIS said that it was, but that organisation was a matter of practical convenience.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that the Ministry was formed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and therefore had spiritual authority. The breaking of the traditional ministry has resulted in the present lack of unity in Christendom.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF LATVIA and THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA spoke with appreciation of the agreement which had been reached, and hoped for further advance at Tallinn.
Third Session at Tallinn. Wednesday, 22nd June, 1938.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA opened the session by welcoming all members of the Conference in order to continue their work. He referred to the fact that it was the first time that official representatives of the Church of England had come to Estonia. The Bishop mentioned the Lambeth Conference of 1888 and read again the four points of the Lambeth Quadrilateral. He then put in for the attention of the Conference a list of seven questions which the Estonian delegates wished to ask. The main object of the questions was for information alone. The first question was then read:
“What is the view of the Church of England about the Creeds? In what way does the Church of England use them at Services and for holy rites?”
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER replied that the Apostles' Creed is used every time Morning or Evening Prayer is said. It is also used in the Baptism Service and in the Service for the Visitation of the Sick. The Nicene Creed, as it is called, is used at every service of the Holy Communion. According to the 1662 Prayer Book, the Athanasian Creed is to be used on certain days at Morning Service instead of the Apostles' Creed. According to the 1928 book, which is used but not legalised, the use of the Athanasian Creed may be limited to its use on Trinity Sunday and the first Sunday after Christmas. In many churches now it is not used at all. We look upon the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds as stating the Catholic Faith, in which we ask the Christian Church to unite. We distinguish the Creeds very clearly from the Thirty-nine Articles and other Confessions of Faith, which we consider to have a temporary and partial value, and we understand that as regards the Creeds there is complete agreement between the Churches of Latvia and Estonia and ourselves.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA asked whether individual bishops had the right to give their own personal interpretations of the Creed in their own dioceses.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that this was a more difficult question. In old days every clergyman had to express his absolute consent to the Thirty-nine Articles. Now, every clergyman expresses his acceptance of the teaching of the Church of England as contained in the Prayer Book, the Thirty-nine Articles and the Ordinal. Each bishop might interpret that for his diocese if appealed to, and the bishops sitting in Convocation, with the Lower House acting as assessors, might interpret it for the Province.
THE DEAN OF CHICHESTER explained the constitution of the Houses of Convocation.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY said that each bishop was responsible for the soundness of the faith of those whom he ordained. It was possible to try priests accused of false doctrine in the courts, but in modern times it was considered a better way to combat erroneous opinions in the atmosphere of free discussion.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA asked whether, generally speaking, the Creeds and Thirty-nine Articles were upheld. He was answered that it was so with some freedom of interpretation.
DR. TAUL suggested that the decisions of the previous Conference on this subject should be endorsed. Carried.
The second question was then put: "What is the unity in doctrine of the Church of England? Who has the authority to interpret it?"
It was decided that this question had been for the most part already answered. It was explained that the authority of the Church was the Convocations, who were the expression of the corporate voice of the Church. The position of the Lambeth Conference was discussed, and it was said to have very great intrinsic authority but no legal authority. Its resolutions only have effect in any particular province if endorsed by Convocation or other competent provincial authority.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA asked if there had ever been an occasion on which the Convocations of Canterbury and York had differed with regard to a fundamental doctrinal question. He was answered—No.
DR. TAUL asked by whom the Doctrinal Commission was appointed, and was informed that it was appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Its object was to discuss various difficulties of modern thought, and to guide people to form an opinion.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY mentioned the resolutions of the Upper Houses of the two Convocations unanimously recommending the Doctrinal Report to the attention of the Church.
THE DEAN OF CHICHESTER said that the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury had said that no kind of authority whatsoever was given to the Report.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA expressed himself satisfied.
The third question was then read: “In what way are the Word and the Sacrament connected with each other?”
DR. TAUL said that the Lutherans thought of a Sacrament as “verbum visibile.”
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA quoted the Lambeth Conference as saying that Holy Scripture contained all things necessary to salvation. He asked whether there was something more in a sacrament.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER thought that in the Lutheran sense the phrase “The Word of God” had a fuller meaning than among members of the Church of England. He thought the question was sufficiently answered if he said that what was considered necessary for the Sacrament of Communion was that it should be celebrated with the words of institution, and it was therefore connected with the Word of God in Scripture.
DR. MACDONALD said that preaching is a means of conveying to the people the Word of God revealed in Scripture, and also the administration of Holy Communion is a similar preaching or revelation of the Word of God. The Word is present in Scripture and preaching, and also in the Sacrament in the whole act.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER added that we believed that the gift of grace in the Sacrament comes from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself in answer to the prayers of the priest and congregation.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY said that the two chief Sacraments were often spoken of as the Sacraments of the Gospel. Many Anglican theologians think it important that the Sacraments should be spoken of in terms of genuine Evangelical theology.
DR. TAUL read Articles VI. and XXV. of the Thirty-nine Articles (see p. 13 of the first Conference and Appendix).
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA expressed his satisfaction on this point.
The fourth question was then considered: “Is it essential that the Confirmation is performed only by the Bishop?”
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that this question had already been answered. The rule of the Church of England was not thought to be a universal one. The Church of England was prepared to accept Confirmation as conducted in Sweden and Finland.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY said that there were people in the Church of England who would be unhappy about Lutheran Confirmation. An emphasis was laid on the connection between the layman and the bishop. He gave examples of this connection in the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox rites. In answer to an enquiry he was informed that there was a laying on of hands in the Lutheran rite. Speaking as a theologian he agreed that no form of the rite can be regarded as universally binding, and this was the attitude of the Church of England in these reunion efforts.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER referred to the minutes of the previous Conference (p. 17). He pointed out that the Lutheran rite contains a prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
THE REV. E. RUMBA explained that the act of Confirmation is a preparation for Communion, and implies admission to full membership of the Church. Thus the strengthening of faith is implied in a very concrete sense.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY said that it was more than simply a strengthening of faith, it was a power to do the will of God.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA expressed himself satisfied.
The following resolution of the Latvian delegation was then put in and read:
“In the interest of oecumenical unity and of the education and edification of the people in Christianity we recognise the great significance of the spiritual office of oversight and of the office of bishop.
“The Oversight (Episkopat) is rooted (jure divino) in the commission of our Lord and Saviour and of His Spirit. But the concrete forms in which oversight has been manifested in the course of history have been influenced by the human spirit (jure humano). Therefore we venture to affirm that the diversity of the forms and of the validity of office of the chief Shepherds of different Confessions does not hinder the effort towards and the need of the oecumenical unity of the Church. We believe that the salvation of men depends uniquely and solely on the grace of God and on Justification by Faith (the Lutheran Foundation principle).
“The representatives of the Evangelical Church of Latvia, standing on this ground of faith, hope that the Church of Latvia in its historical development in the future will adopt such forms of the episcopal office and give it such validity as will promote the working out of the oecumenical unity of the Christian Church.
“We pray God that the Almighty will be pleased to give us in this historical moment the spirit of oecumenical unity also in the proclamation of the Word of God, the administration of the Sacraments and the general co-operation of the Churches.”
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA said that he understood the statement to mean that they hoped that the office of bishop would be exercised in such a way that it would be recognised by all.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that the expression of this desire was really important for the Anglican delegation.
PROFESSOR MALDONIS said that the resolution represented the views of all those present at the Conference in Riga.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that there were two things in the statement:
(i.) A theory of development of the Episcopate. Many Anglicans probably agree with it, but they would not be prepared to say so in so many words. It is recognised that episcopacy takes various forms, but the Historic Episcopate is the basis for reunion—”The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church." (The fourth point of the Lambeth Quadrilateral.)
(ii.) The agreement in a desire for the sake of unity to adopt such a rule of episcopacy as will make it universally recognised. That statement definitely expressed is for us quite sufficient. We do not desire to impose any theory of episcopacy upon any other Church, for there are differences of opinion about the theory of the Episcopate in our own 'Church, and the unity with other Churches must come by having a ministry which is mutually recognised. As to what else is mutually said in this statement regarding the unity of Word and Sacraments, that is of course understood. It is only the exigencies of controversy which have made it necessary to put the Ministry forward. The real unity comes in our united acceptance of Scripture and in our acceptance of the Incarnation and Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in our joining together in the great Christian Sacrament of unity.
PROFESSOR MALDONIS asked whether the temporary irregular state while waiting for further unity, would prevent certain spiritual intercourse. He instanced the case of a Latvian sailor who might need Christian ministrations when out of touch with his own Church.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER explained the arrangements made with the Church of Finland for such cases. It has been allowed that members of the Church of Finland should be admitted to communion in the Church of England, and it was noted that the Church of Finland would admit Anglicans to communion.
Fourth Session at Tallinn. Wednesday, 22nd June, 1938.
The fifth question was then read: "How much does the Church of England depend on the State? What does the State require from the Church?"
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that the Church is an independent body on its own, but that it is linked to the State by a great variety of ties. The King appoints bishops, deans and many others of the clergy. Nominally the right of election of the bishop is reserved for the Cathedral Chapter. But they receive letters dimissory telling them who to elect, and if they elect anyone else they are liable to penalties under the Statute of Praemunire, dating from the reign of Edward I. The independent legislative power of the Church has been restored by the Enabling Act. A Church Assembly has been constituted, which has a house of Bishops, a house of Clergy and a house of Laity. Measures passed by that body have the force of Acts of Parliament, but they have to go before the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and then they receive the Royal Assent. The most serious event since this system began has been the rejection of the Prayer Book of 1927 and 1928, but in spite of this rejection it is very widely used. A large part of the Church of England is anxious to alter the relations between Church and State.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA asked whether the Church of England would have the strength to maintain its independence if England became a totalitarian state. He was told that any attempt at coercion of the Church would lead to disestablishment.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY explained the different views in the Church of England about the Establishment. Many hope for independence in doctrinal matters.
DR. MACDONALD said that he saw no spiritual disadvantage in the present relations of Church and State.
It was explained that the Church of England was not identified with any one political party.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA, in reply to a question, said that in Estonia the Church was completely separated from the State, but is recognised in the new law. The Lutheran Bishop and the Head of the Orthodox Church in the country have seats in the Upper House.
He added, in answer to further questions, that each parish pays its pastor. Every Church member has to pay a subscription, and in the country pastors have small farms up to 50 hectares. The payment of Church dues is voluntary and is collected by the Church.
PROFESSOR MALDONIS asked how further unity could be achieved.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that if the Church of England were requested by the Churches of Latvia and Estonia to send a bishop to assist in the consecration of a bishop of either country, it would be willing to do so. In days to come, if the Archbishop of Canterbury asked the Churches of Latvia and Estonia to send a bishop to take part in the consecration of an English bishop, it is to be hoped that they would respond. The opportunity would have to be created by those Churches, and the Bishop suggested that they might find it desirable to have a larger number of bishops in the two countries than there are at present. He also suggested that the consecration of more bishops would be the opportunity for co-operation.
THE DEAN OF CHICHESTER instanced the practice of the Church of England in relation to the Churches of Sweden and Finland in assisting at the consecration of bishops.
PROFESSOR MALDONIS asked in what way the unity could be expressed in the interim. Baptisms and marriages might take place and information regarding them be forwarded. He was told that Latvians or Estonians living in England would receive the ordinary ministrations of the parish priest if their presence were notified.
It was recommended that some machinery should be set up for the conveyance of information of such baptisms and marriages as might take place.
Seamen could be recommended to the Diocesan Bishop and by him to the Seamen's Missions.
The reverse could be done for Englishmen in Latvia and Estonia.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that in reunited relations with the Churches of Finland and Sweden many matters arose for discussion, and he hoped that it would be possible to have the necessary discussions at the time of the Lambeth Conference. If an agreement is reached at this Conference the Churches of Latvia and Estonia would be asked to send delegates.
In answer to a question from Provost Jürgenson, it was stated that the Lambeth Conference had said that it would not call in question advice given to Anglicans to communicate in non-episcopal Communions in cases of special difficulty or emergency.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER cited a seventeenth-century precedent for communion in Lutheran Churches when a member was out of touch with the ministrations of the Church of England. He also said that it was clear that the Lutheran Churches do not fail to lay stress on the Sacraments.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA suggested that a procedure might be adopted similar to that employed in the negotiations with the Church of Finland. This was agreed.
The Conference then began to consider its report.
The first paragraph of the Finnish Report was read.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that the present Conference had arrived at two conclusions:
(i.) A unity of faith between the Churches which may be the basis of union.
(ii.) We do not wish to impose the customs of one Church on the others. That is laid down in the first paragraph of the report with the Church of Finland.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA moved that the same statement should be accepted with possible redrafting.
This was agreed unanimously.
(This paragraph may be read in the Joint Report.)
Fifth Session at Tallinn. Thursday, 23rd June, 1938.
The sixth question was considered: “What are the relations between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church on the one hand, and the Free Churches and Dissenters on the other?”
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER said that there were practically no relations at all between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in England owing to the refusal of the Roman Church to have any relations. There are better relations with Roman Catholics on the Continent: All official and semi-official relations have come to an end. There is at the present time a friendly approach of the Church of England and the Nonconformists towards each other. There has been a joint commission meeting together to discuss terms of reunion on the lines of the South India Scheme.
THE BISHOP OF DERBY said that before any attempt at reunion with Roman Catholics could be effected the Roman doctrine of authority would have to be drastically revised. As regards the Free Churches, he thought that the greatest stumbling block would be the Establishment.
It was added that the mental training of Nonconformist ministers and Anglican priests was very much the same. The Estonians expressed themselves satisfied.
The last question was then considered: “Is the Church of England also concerned in social work?”
The different points of view on this matter in the Church of England were explained by various members of the Anglican delegation. Reference was made to the Industrial Christian Fellowship and to the League of Nations Union, and differing opinions about them were expressed.
THE BISHOP OF ESTONIA then suggested that a statement should be submitted for the approval of the Conference. This was agreed.
Sixth Session at Tallinn. Friday, 24th June, 1938.
A statement was submitted to the Conference for adoption as the Joint Report. A discussion of the text took place and a final form was reached. It was agreed to adopt this as the Joint Report of the Conference.
Later, the Conference met again and signed the Report in English, Estonian and Latvian.
(Signed) H. M. WADDAMS. EDGAR RUMBA. JAAK TAUL.