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Moscow Patriarchate calls emergency session, weighs withdrawal from Pan-Orthodox Council

June 08, 2016

The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow has called a special meeting, apparently to consider withdrawing from the Pan-Orthodox Council that is scheduled to convene in Crete on June 19.

With at least two major Orthodox bodies already having announced that they will not participate in the meeting, the Moscow patriarchate had called for a special conference to resolve disputes before the opening of the worldwide meeting. But the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has said that the Council will proceed on schedule.

”The Council is still on,” Archdeacon John Chryssavgis, a spokesman for the Constantinople see, told the Crux news site. “If one or more churches don’t attend, all the decisions made will still hold and be binding for all Orthodox churches.”

The Russian Orthodox Church has taken an opposing stand. "We proposed that the Patriarch of Constantinople hold a conference before the Council to tackle all the issues due to which Churches are now refusing to participate one after another,” Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the ecumenical-affairs department for the Moscow patriarchate, told the Interfax news service. “If these issues are resolved, then the Council will take place. If they are not, then it's probably best to postpone it.”

The Pan-Orthodox Council was intended as a gathering of leaders of all the world’s autocephalous Orthodox churches: an event that has not occurred since the Great Schism. The meeting, which has been in preparation for several decades, now appears to be in jeopardy. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Patriarchate of Antioch have announced that they do not intend to participate. The Greek and Georgian Orthodox churches have also voiced serious misgivings about the documents presented for discussion at the Council.

 
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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: AimezLoyaute - Jun. 11, 2016 9:12 PM ET USA

    Check out holycouncil.org for the issues. This is an internal synod. The subject of re-unification with Rome is not on the docket.

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Jun. 11, 2016 10:24 AM ET USA

    What exactly do the Orthodox churches have to talk about, and what is causing this disagreement? Do some of them actually want to reunite with the Catholic Church and reverse the Great Schism?

  • Posted by: AimezLoyaute - Jun. 09, 2016 12:42 PM ET USA

    Presiding in charity and ruling universally, immediately, and supremely are clean different things. No need for eye roll, please.

  • Posted by: Jason C. - Jun. 08, 2016 10:12 PM ET USA

    Gosh, if only there were someone who might preside in charity over such a gathering. /eyeroll