An Inffective Methodology for a Pan-Orthodox Council

On 22 January at the Centre of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Chambesy started the meeting of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches. A speech was addressed by His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kyrill to the participants, reports

At the beginning of his speech, His Holiness the Patriarch noted that each meeting of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches has a special significance. “This is an opportunity to exchange views and discuss issues of concern to us, to take concerted decisions on Pan-Orthodox values. But first of all – it is an opportunity to once again feel our unity, especially when we jointly partake of the one Chalice, knowing that we all form one Body in Christ, “- said His Holiness, also expressing his gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who initiated and organized the meeting.

Later in the speech His Holiness addressed various aspects of the preparations for the Pan-Orthodox Council.

“Gathering together, we clearly understand that our Church is One and Catholic, that to preserve and strengthen Her unity is the primary concern, which is the basis of all of our service. The Holy and Great Council is intended to be visible, clear, convincing evidence of the unity of the Orthodox Church and we all understand that the Council will be able to become one only if it reflects the genuine shared vision of the Local Orthodox Churches. In order to achieve this unanimity we all have to work hard in the pre-conciliar period,” said the Primate of the Russian Church.

In this context, His Holiness noted with satisfaction that “concern about the lack common Orthodox recognition of Metropolitan Rostislav, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, which has been repeatedly expressed both by the Moscow Patriarchate and other Church was heard, and His Beatitude today is present among us, as He has now received due recognition of all the Local Churches. ”

Speaking about the problems preventing full unanimity among the Local Orthodox Churches, Patriarch Kirill expressed regret over the breaking of communion between the Antiochian and Jerusalem Patriarchates. Its recovery, in the opinion of His Holiness, is an urgent task these days, when the whole world is following with concern developments in the Middle East, because “it is from the religious communities in this region that people first await an example of cohesion, readiness to overcome differences.”

During his speech, His Holiness elaborated on the Church situation in the Ukraine. “Now have been forcibly seized more than 30 churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, at least another 10 are under threat of attack from schismatics and nationalists, happening for alleged voluntary movements of believers to the so-called Kiev Patriarchate – said His Holiness. – In fact, these are real gangster raids: to hold meetings of persons not related to the community, and then with the help of the statutory authorities falsify documents seized by the militant nationalists, and the community together with the priest of the temple are thrown into the street! ”

The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed deep concern about the actions of some bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, who, visiting the Ukraine, have expressed their support for dissenters ostensibly on behalf of His Holiness the Patriarch of Constantinople, and thereby sow temptations among Ukrainian believers and clergy.

It is inconceivable, said Patriarch Kyrill, that in Switzerland, Greece or another European country in the Orthodox church could come representatives of other faiths to “take a decision” that now this church is theirs. “In the Ukraine it is now a reality. Expelled from the churches of the community of the canonical Church wins all lawsuits, but the dissenters and their bandit militias ignore court decisions “, – said in pain His Holiness Patriarch.

As an example of blatant hatred of nationalists for the faithful of the canonical Church in the Ukraine, Patriarch Kirill noted the situation in the village of Ptichya in the Rivne region, stressing that the followers split “sow evil, deliberately provoke sectarian conflicts, splitting Ukrainian society.”

“Recently one of their supporters publicly stated that if Metropolitan Onuphry still belongs to the canonical Church, it is only because there was no suitable instruments of torture – a soldering iron, or iron. It is terrible to imagine what would have happened if these bandits got canonical legalization and joined in our midst! “- Said His Holiness.

His Holiness expressed his gratitude to the fraternal Local Churches – particularly Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Serbian, Bulgarian and Polish – for the prayers and support for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irenaeus wrote to me quite right about the Ukrainian schismatics: These people belong to Orthodoxy only in name, and” their contempt for the rules of Christian morality, readiness to hate, lie and shed blood are living proof of that, “- said the Primate of the Russian Church. – For such people, there is only one way into the Church – through repentance. We were asked why we do not want to be with them, they require us to start a dialogue on a nearly equal footing. But how can there be harmony between Christ and Belial? ”

“The Orthodox people of the Ukraine continue to support the canonical Church – His Holiness Patriarch testified, describing the gathering of tens of thousands of worshippers in procession in Kiev to celebrate the memory of St. Vladimir. I believe in the future of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Its believers are united in their condemnation of the sschism, and violence and evil only strengthens them in the heroism of love and faith. ”

Later in his speech, Patriarch Kyrill noted that the process of preparing the Pan-Orthodox Council has recently noticeably intensified. His Holiness has focused on the reasons for failure of a number of previous Primates Meeting in the framework of the Special Committee and the Fifth Inter-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference and, in particular, noted the importance of taking into account the positions of all the Local Churches, carrying out their missions in different conditions. In this regard, some have mentioned so far that they have not heard suggestions that the last two years have been made on the topics of the agenda-Orthodox Cathedral near the local Churches, including Antioch, Russian, Georgian, Serbian, Bulgarian.

The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed his conviction of the need to revise the draft document “the calendar issue”, noting that the theme of “to more accurately determine the date of Easter” is absolutely irrelevant to the Orthodox Church and can only sow discord among many believers.

Of equal concern, in the words of His Holiness, is a draft document “Obstacles to marriage”, which contains a dry list of canonical obstacles and does not affect the position of the Church regarding the institution of the family in the modern world.

As one of the very important activities of the Russian Orthodox Church has called the theme “Autocephaly and Method of proclamation,” proposing to adopt at the Council already reached at the meetings of the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission agreed in principle to the effect that the establishment of new Autocephalous Churches to be an act of general Orthodox scale requiring reaching a consensus of all the Local Orthodox Churches in each case.

It was also stressed the need for a preliminary study of the draft conciliar document on “The Orthodox Diaspora”.

The subject of detailed discussion in the speech of His Holiness and became the venue of the Council, previously rising in circulation of His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia.

“As we can see, many of the issues we still have to work together to solve, in order to allow the convening of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. I’m sure the real reason that many of the documents are still inconsistent – not because of conflicting opinions from different Churches, but in an ineffective methodology for the preparation of the Council, “- said His Holiness. In this regard, His Holiness shared his experience of the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in an open discussion format, which allows any interested member of the Church to express their position.

“I think that it is so open, should continue to undergo preparation for the Council, if we are really interested in its success”, – said the Primate of the Russian Church, stressing the importance of publishing draft conciliar documents and overcome the shortage of reliable information, which raises the suspicions of many believers.

“I am convinced that the long-awaited publication of draft conciliar documents and the ability to free them of discussion not only hinders the carrying out of the Council, but also show us and the world the truly Catholic character of our Church, helping to strengthen Pan-Orthodox unity”, said Patriarch Kyrill, urging all gathered together to pray to the Lord for help in a collaborative effort for the good of the Church, to overcome the difficulties encountered on the way to conducting a Pan-Orthodox Council.