Pan-Orthodox council concludes with message, encyclical
June 27, 2016
The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church concluded with the publication of a message and encyclical signed by the representatives of the ten Orthodox churches that attended the gathering.
In recent weeks, four of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox churches-- including the largest, the Russian Orthodox Church-- decided not to send delegations to the council, which met in Crete.
“The key priority of the Council was to proclaim the unity of the Orthodox Church,” the assembled bishops said in their message. “During the deliberations … the proposal was made for the Holy and Great Council to become a regular institution to be convened every seven or ten years.”
In their joint encyclical, the assembled bishops touched upon seven themes:
- The Church: Body of Christ, image of the Holy Trinity
- The mission of the Church in the world
- The Family: Image of Christ’s love towards the Church
- Education in Christ
- The Church in the face of contemporary challenges
- The Church in the face of globalization, the phenomenon of extreme violence and migration
- Church: witness in dialogue
The council also approved six documents:
- The Importance of Fasting and Its Observance Today
- Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World
- Autonomy and the Means by Which it is Proclaimed
- The Orthodox Diaspora
- The Sacrament of Marriage and its Impediments
- The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World
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