Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation by Pope Paul VI of Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions. One of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, this text has had a revolutionary impact on Catholic-Jewish relations as well as on Catholic relations with other religions.

Particularly noteworthy in Nostra Aetate is its break with the adversus Judaeos tradition that had been a part of Christian thought and practice since the second century (some would put it earlier). Thus after Vatican II the Catholic Church disavowed its former blaming of the Jews for the Crucifixion, and the theological anti-Judaism that followed from the fixing of that blame upon the Jews.

There is no comparable declaration in Orthodoxy, and I think it not unfair to say that, after some promising beginnings the Orthodox Christian-Jewish dialogue is at best in hibernation at the moment. Might the upcoming Great and Holy Synod take up this subject?

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