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date: 25 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter traces the history of bilateral dialogues and considers the experience and results of dialogue. It discusses the particular nature of bilateral dialogues in contrast with multilateral ecumenism, and the goals of such dialogue, which take different forms, e.g. identifying differences and achieving agreements, removing mistrust and beginning a mutual acquaintance, and the ‘reconciliation of memories’, depending on the partners involved. Attention is given to various problems of bilateral dialogues, for example, their correspondence with the actual reality of the churches involved, the coherence between multiple dialogues in which a given church may be involved, the reception of their results, and their effectiveness in changing perspectives. Reception is required not just at the level of church leadership, but also in the everyday lives of the churches, where bilateral dialogues are nowadays often perceived as being far removed from the life of local congregations.

Keywords: bilateral, multilateral, dialogue, ecumenism, coherence, reception, reconciliation of memories

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