03/18/2016, 11.54
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Pan-Orthodox Synod dedicated to issues "related structure and outer life of the Church"

Bartholomew issues a "patriarchal and synodal encyclical". The meeting will be held in Crete June 18 to 27. The meaning and importance of synodality for the Orthodox. "Without Synod's decision, discernment between orthodoxy and heresy is not possible. All the dogmas of the Church and its sacred canons bear the seal of collegiality".

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – The upcoming Holy and Great Synod of the whole Orthodox Church will be dedicated to "issues related to the structure and of the outer life of the Orthodox Church that are in immediate reorganization, such as issues concerning relations with the remaining Orthodox Christian world and the mission of the Church in our time", according to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.  The Patriarch has written a "patriarchal and synodal encyclical" made public today ahead of the first major gathering of the Orthodox world in fifty years on the island of Crete June 18 to 27 next.

The text emphasizes the meaning and importance of synodality for the Orthodox Church in light of the difficulty of finding an agreement, especially among the patriarchates, on the convening and the contents of the pan-Orthodox Synod, which has taken nearly 50 years of work.

"The path of opposing lies with the truth" is "the path that the Church has followed from the beginning throughout the course of its history, and this was nothing more than that of collegiality. The discernment between truth and lies, between orthodoxy and heresy, is not always easy. Even the heretics believed and believe they follow the truth and there will always be those that will characterize those who do not agree with their point of view as 'heretics'. The Orthodox Church in this case recognizes one, single authenticity: the Synod of its canonical Bishops. Without a decision by the Synod, discernment between orthodoxy and heresy is not possible. All the dogmas of the Church and its sacred canons bear the seal of synodality. Orthodoxy is the Church of collegiality. The Orthodox Church has always emphasized this ecclesiological principle and applied it faithfully locally. This was the case for many centuries even at the ecumenical and pan-Orthodox level, however, it was then interrupted for a long time due to historical circumstances".

"The main purpose and importance of this pan-Orthodox Synod – continues the document - is to demonstrate that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, united in the Mysteries and of course in the Divine Eucharist and in the Orthodox faith, but also in synodality. Holy and Great Synod of the whole Orthodox Church This is why its preparation has required such a long period of time a long period of time, through a series of Preparatory Committees and Pre-Synodal councils, so that the documentation of its decisions and reasoning would transpire as reached in unity, expressed  with one voice and with one heart.

"We know, of course - concludes Bartholomew - that the world is waiting to hear the voice of the Orthodox Church on many of the burning issues that concern mankind today.  However the Orthodox Church must first look to the issues within its own home, before expressing itself to the  world, which it has always considered its duty. The fact that Orthodoxy, after the passage of so many centuries, express its synodality globally, is the first and decisive step which is expected that, through the grace of God, not long after others will follow, through the convocation , God willing, of other pan-Orthodox Synods ".

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