News Bulletin Number 2
HOLY AND GREAT COUNCIL OF ORTHODOX CHURCH
OFFICE OF THE PANORTHODOX SECRETARIAT
Thursday, 23 June, 2016
HOLY AND GREAT COUNCIL
OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
Orthodox Academy of Crete 18-27 June 2016
He divided the nations.
When He distributed the tongues of fire, He called all to UNITY.
And with one voice we glorify the All-Holy Spirit.
(Kontakion of Pentecost)
This Bulletin is designed as a work-tool for the information of the Observers and the accredited members of the Mass Media. The translations into other languages do not have an official character.
This Bulletin is published on the web-site of the Holy and Great Council: https://www.holycouncil.org/home
Plenary Session Tuesday, the 21st June
During the first morning session on Tuesday, 21 June, His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch condemned the demonstrations organised to exploit groups of naïve or zealous believers every ready to oppose the Holy and Great Council. He prayed that the great fire in Cyprus would be swiftly extinguished. He announced that a telegram had been sent by the Catholics in Greece and that a message of greeting had been received from the Synod of Roman Catholic Bishops in America. He also announced the amendment proposals relating to the text about the Mission of the Church in today’s world submitted to the Secretariat of the Council by the Church of Serbia and requested that they be accepted by the Council with certain editorial changes.
Topic: The Orthodox Diaspora
Following the acceptance of the amendments, the text on the Orthodox Diaspora and the associated Regulation for the organization and functioning of the established Regional Episcopal Assemblies was read out. His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch noted that even though the desirable canonical organization of the Episcopal Assemblies had not proved possible, nevertheless significant steps had been taken and the efforts had brought important fruits for their harmonic functioning, in spite of the negative stance of one or two Churches. These positive steps were underlined by the Presidents of the Episcopal Assemblies of America and Germany, as well as by many other members of the Council, while the causes for the present dysfunctionalities were noted by their Beatitudes the Primates of Cyprus, Albania, Romania, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Poland and many Hierarchs, including Alexandros of Nigeria, Seraphim of Zimbabwe, Basil of Constantia, Irenaeos of Batska, Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Theophanis of Moldavia, and others.
Discussions on the Topic
The proposals discussed focused, on the one hand, on preserving the existing text in the form it had been unanimously passed to the Holy and Great Synod by the Synaxis of the Primates of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches (Chambesy, Jan. 2016), since it is complete and covers the needs of the Episcopal Assemblies, and on the other hand, on exploiting the authority of the Council to remove certain non-canonical practices and established dysfunctions for the more effective fulfillment of the important work of the Episcopal Assemblies.
In their responses their Beatitudes the Primates, reviewed constructively the different proposals of the two tendencies, making reference especially to the absence of the four Holy Orthodox Churches not participating in the Holy and Great Council so as to anticipate or avert undesirable misunderstandings or confusions. Accordingly, His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, as President of the Holy and Great Council, defended both the canonical right and the authority of the Council to protect the canonical order of the Orthodox Church and to guarantee the harmonic functioning of inter-Orthodox and inter-church relations, and so he considered it necessary to accept at least certain amendments on primarily practical matters of canonical order.