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Russian Patriarch sends greetings to council in Crete, calls for unity

June 17, 2016

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has sent a message of encouragement to the Orthodox prelates who have gathered in Crete for the Pan-Orthodox Council that opens on Sunday.

Although the Russian Orthodox Church has indicated that it will not participate in the meeting, Patriarch Kirill wrote that the disputes among Orthodox churches must not be allowed to “bring division and trouble into our ranks.” He urged respect for the decisions of all Church leaders, whether or not they had opted to join in this week’s council.

The Russian Patriarch said that the meeting in Crete “can become an important step toward overcoming the present differences.” It could, he said, aid in “the preparation of that Holy and Great Council which will unite all the local autocephalous churches without exception.” Thus he reiterated the stand of the Moscow Patriarchate that because some Orthodox churches will be absent, the meeting in Crete should be seen as a prelude to the Pan-Orthodox Council, rather than—as it was intended—the council itself.


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