07/18/2016, 15.14
RUSSIA – ORTHODOX
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Russian Orthodox Church officially rejects the Council of Crete as a Pan-Orthodox

by Nina Achmatova

The Synod rejects meeting’s Pan-Orthodox status, but recognises it as "important event". The Patriarchate of Antioch distances itself making it clear it that it does not consider the documents approved at the Council as binding.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – The Council which took place in Crete on 19-25 June with the participation of 10 out of 14 Orthodox Churches was “an important event in the history of the Orthodox Church Council process,” but it “cannot be regarded as Pan-Orthodox”, said Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations.

The Moscow Patriarchate along with the Churches of Georgia, Bulgaria and Antioch were absent from the Crete meeting, which was 50 years in the making.

The Holy Synod determined that the Council and the documents it approved do not express “a Pan-Orthodox consensus” since it failed to uphold the principle of conciliarity. Now it wants the documents to be sent to the Synodal Theological and Biblical Commission to reach its own conclusions.

The four churches that stayed away from Crete had asked for a postponement of the meeting to resolve differences and disagreements on draft documents to be approved.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople – in charge of organising the event – rejected the request, insisting on respecting the agreed timetable. For this reason, Russia, Bulgaria, Georgia and Antioch refused to send their representatives.

In a statement, the Synod of Antioch said that the Crete meeting was “a preliminary meeting towards the Pan-Orthodox Council, thus to consider its documents not final, but still open for discussion and amendment upon the convocation of the Great Pan-Orthodox Council in the presence and participation of all the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.”

In Crete, the Pan-Orthodox Council focused on a number of issues, including the Orthodox Church's relations with the rest of the Christian world, fasting, marriage, its mission in the modern world, the Orthodox diaspora and ways of proclaiming the autocephaly.

Differences of opinion centred on the sacrament of marriage, the Orthodox Churches and the contemporary world and the relationship to other Christian denominations.

Detractors criticised the ecumenical position in the texts and insist that Catholic and Protestant heretics cannot be defined as "Churches".

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