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Vatican newspaper sees ‘uphill road’ to pan-Orthodox council

January 14, 2016

The heads of the Orthodox churches face several obstacles to consensus before the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church, scheduled to begin on June 19 in Istanbul, according to a report in L’Osservatore Romano.

Giovanni Zavata, the article’s author, cites the “slowness with which the preparatory works are progressing,” “doubts expressed by high Orthodox representatives,” “difficulties existing in relations between some churches,” and “rising political tension between Russia and Turkey.”

In the two years since the council was announced, the Orthodox churches have reached consensus on only three of the eight agenda items, Zavada said, and the participation of one of the Orthodox churches—the Patriarchate of Antioch—is in doubt because of its dispute with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem over which patriarchate legitimately exercises canonical jurisdiction in Qatar.

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