The recent Church Council at the New Jerusalem Monastery to the west of Moscow was organized by the Church of New Jerusalem and All Rus – as the Patriarchate of Moscow has now been renamed. The Council was attended by its 400 bishops and substantial official delegations from all the other Twelve Local Churches that are in communion with it and each other.
Momentous international decisions affecting all were taken at the Council. First of all, the Church of Rus was placed first in order of the diptychs, before New Constantinople (see below), Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem; the Archbishop of Athens has been renamed ‘Patriarch of New Constantinople’ and all five Balkan Churches (Romania, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Albania) have pledged themselves to the closest co-operation and talk seriously of merging into one again; the Churches of Poland and of the Czech Lands and Slovakia are intending to become Autonomous Churches within the Patriarchate of Rus. If this happens, it will reduce the number of Local Churches to seven: Rus, New Constantinople (the Balkans), Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Cyprus and Georgia. Seven is of course the number of Local Churches in the Book of Revelation.
At long last, after over a century lost since the 1917 international-organized, treasonous coup d’etat which overthrew the Russian Empire, the Diaspora and the Non-Orthodox world are receiving attention. Firstly, the Patriarchate of New Jerusalem and All Rus now has ten Autonomous Churches, not only the five in the Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Japan and China, but also five new ones: in Western Europe from Iceland to Finland and Portugal to Hungary; North America; Latin America; Oceania; South-East Asia. All Orthodox living in these five territories have been invited to take part in inter-diocesan life, while retaining their complete independence, customs, viewpoints and attachment to their homelands. Secondly, the Patriarchate of Antioch has promised to work to evangelize the whole Arab world, with diplomatic and financial support from the Patriarchate of All Rus.
This Council of New Jerusalem has been hailed as a turning-point in Church history. It means that with the internal nationalist bickering of the recent past resolved and administrative divisions overcome, the Church can now turn its attention to the outside world. Today’s world, divided between narrow racist nationalism and greedy scheming globalism, needs Christ as never before.