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Russian Orthodox official criticizes pan-Orthodox council’s documents, procedure

April 22, 2016

A leading official of the Russian Orthodox Church offered criticisms of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, which will take place in Crete in June.

The comments made by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, are significant because the Russian Orthodox Church is the largest of the 15 autocephalous churches within Eastern Orthodoxy.

Metropolitan Hilarion made clear that the synod is not an ecumenical council and criticized its draft documents.

“We would have liked to improve their wording,” he told a conference at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University in Moscow on April 19. “Believe me, we have exerted a lot of efforts to make the documents better than they were, but many our amendments have not been adopted.”

Turning to synodal procedure, Metropolitan Hilarion said:

We have proposed from the very beginning of preparation to convene all bishops … However, we were told that it was impossible to bring so many bishops together and let it be the fixed number from each church … It means that certain churches will be represented by all their bishops, but our church, which has over 350 bishops, will be represented by a small quantity.

 
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