Statement

The  Porvoo Common Statement with  the Porvoo Agreement
This is the name given to a report issued at  the conclusion of theological conversations by official representatives of four  Anglican Churches and eight Nordic and Baltic Churches in 1989-1992. The Porvoo  Common Statement included the text of the Porvoo Declaration, which the  participants commended for acceptance to their Churches.They were the Churches of England and Ireland,  the Church in Wales and the Episcopal Church of Scotland, together with the  Churches of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and the Evangelical-Lutheran Churches  of Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia and Lithuania. Acceptance by the signatory  churches means that for the first time the Anglican Churches in Britain and  Ireland have now moved into visible communion with other national Churches in  Europe.
Why is  it called Porvoo?
The report is named after the Porvoo Cathedral  in Finland, where the Eucharist was celebrated on the final Sunday of the  Conversations. (Porvoo is pronounced ‘Porvoh’, with the stress on the first  syllable.)
What is  the purpose of the Porvoo Common Statement?
To draw the Churches involved into a new and  closer relationship for the sake of greater unity and more effective mission.
Which  Churches have agreed and when?
The Estonian Evangelical-Lutheran Church 19 April 1994
The Church of Sweden 24 August 1994
The Church of Norway 15 November 1994
The Scottish Episcopal Church 9 December 1994
The Church of Ireland 16 May 1995
The Church of England 9 July 1995
The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Lithuania 29-30 July 1995
The Church in Wales September 1995
The Evangelical-Lutheran of Iceland 17-27  October 1995
The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland 8  November 1995
The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Denmark  3 October 2010

Why  these churches?
The churches covered by this agreement have a  great deal in common: their history, liturgy, identity and their understanding  of the Church’s mission today bear great resemblances. They are all episcopal  churches and almost all of them are the national church and the continuing  manifestation in its own land of the historic (western) Catholic Church.

Why  only these churches?
The Porvoo Communion is not an ecumenical club  but an ecumenical venture which in due time may grow in the number of churches  involved. Comparative and fact-finding conversations between the Porvoo,  Leuenberg (91 Lutheran, Reformed and United churches in Europe) and Meissen  churches (Evangelical Church in Germany – EKD) have already taken place.

The bilateral relationships between the  individual churches involved are of course also continuously nurtured and  furthered.

What is  it about?

Chapter  I of the Porvoo Common Statement is called ‘Setting  the Scene’, and explains the motivation for the Conversations and for approving  the Porvoo Declaration. Section C discusses our churches’ common mission in the  new Europe – understanding mission in its broadest sense, including what we  would call social responsibility issues. One of the important features of  Porvoo is the fact that it is in the social and political context of the new  Europe.

Chapter  II gives the other motivation for the Porvoo – the  ecclesiological. The churches are called to overcome what has been  ‘denominational self-sufficiency’. Porvoo is important as part of the  overcoming of the divisions of the Church which resulted from the Reformation.  It is part of the restoration of the unity of the Western Church.

Chapter  IV deals with the question of the historic episcopate.  The situation in the churches involved are different. The Baltic Churches have  not always had bishops, but they now not only have bishops, but bishops who  stand in the historic succession of the laying on of hands. The churches of  Sweden and Finland, like the Anglican churches, have inherited that historic  succession. And in Denmark, Norway and Iceland the churches have preserved the  continuity in the episcopal office, but at the time of the Reformation did so  by an occasion priestly or presbyteral ordination.

The Porvoo Common Statement, para. 52, argues  that apostolic succession in the Church is like a rope of several strands. If  one strand, such as the personal tactile succession, is broken, other strands,  such as for example, the continuity of historic sees, can hold it. According to  this understanding, as para. 53 points out, ‘the mutual acknowledgement of  churches and ministries is theologically prior to the use of the sign’, and its  resumption ‘ does not imply an adverse judgement on the ministries of those  churches ‘which previously did not use it. This has freed churches such as the  Church of Norway to embrace the sign, without denying their past apostolic  continuity, as para. 52 says.

This clears the way for the Porvoo Declaration  in para. 58. Which, as it now has been approved by the greater part of the  churches, has established a communion of episcopal, historic national or folk  churches, stretching across Northern Europe from Greenland to the Baltic  States. This involves commitments para. 58 b. affecting all the members of the  signatory churches, as well as ministers and church leaders.

The Common Statement is available in a number of languages:
English
Swedish
French
Estonian
Icelandic
Finnish
Welsh