After the embarrassing failure of the 2016 Crete forum, attended only by heterodox and representatives from ten of the fourteen Local Churches, who disagreed among themselves, many refusing to sign, the Patriarch of Constantinople is angry. He is angry because his personal ‘pope-dream’ has failed and so he is now threatening all those who disagreed with his pet project with not concelebrating with them. This he can do within his own Patriarchate, but he cannot do with other Local Churches, except by excommunicating himself from them. As regards the four Local Churches, representing over 80% of Orthodox, who did not agree with the agenda of the forum and so did not even attend, they find the elderly Patriarch’s behaviour not just irrelevant but increasingly erratic. Some have raised the possibility that he and perhaps some of his geriatric aides have Alzheimer’s. Given all this, what is the future?
The fact is that the Crete forum has opened a wound in the Church, the wound of ecumenism, that is, the status for members of the Church of Non-Orthodox and the religious organizations to which they belong. The top-down attempt by the Patriarchate of Constantinople to impose a heretical understanding of this on the Church has brought only division. This issue must now be answered. Closely linked to this dogmatic erring which needs clearing up, but even worse than it, is the Crete forum’s deliberate failure to deal with the one real problem facing the Church in the real world. This is the refusal to send out missions to convert the world outside the Church. Many hierarchs seem to prefer inward-looking ethnic flag-waving to dealing with the largely ignored huge missionary territories where live seven billion Non-Orthodox. They need enlightenment by the Church. Here is why we now need a real Council.