By Luke Coppen CAmoucs and Lutherans will signal the end of a 400-year doctrinal dispute this Sunday, when representatives of both churches meet to sign a joint declaration on justification by faith.
The agreement, which resolves one of the major theological disagreements of the Protestant Reformation, states that the two churches have reached "a consensus in fundamental truths of the doctrine of justification".
The joint declaration, hailed as an ecumenical "milestone" will be signed in the symbolic location of Augsburg, where the Lutheran faith was first formulated, on Reformation Sunday, the day when millions of Protestants recall Martin Luther's proclamation of the 95 theses.
The signing will be followed by celebrations around the world, including a special Catholic-Lutheran service in central London.
Tom Bruch, general secretary of the Lutheran Council of Great Britain, said: "This is an acknowledgement of the large area of overlap in our understanding of justification.
"It will have the effect of correcting a popular view about what the Catholic Church teaches. It will come as a very great arid very welcome surprise to many Lutherans." The European Synod of Bishops pro cl aimed the agreement as a "sign of hope" in its closing message.
"After four centuries, we have reached a consensus on certain fundamental truths concerning this central aspect of our faith, " the bishops wrote.