RPTs DOES NOT RULE OUT HOLDING PAN-ORTHODOX COUNCIL ELSEWHERE THAN TURKEY
RIA Novosti, 1 December 2015
The venue for conducting the Pan-Orthodox Council, which is scheduled to convene in Istanbul in 2016, may be changed because of the growth of tensions in relations of Russia and Turkey, thinks the secretary for inter-Orthodox relations of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate [OVTsSMP], Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk.
The conduct of the Pan-Orthodox Council, whose preparations began more than 50 years ago, had been earlier preliminarily set for 2016 in Istanbul; that decision was made at a meeting of the heads and representatives of all local Orthodox churches.
"Now we can only discuss hypothetically about how political circumstances of recent days may impact the event; we do not know when it will be held. If there were a worsening of circumstances, then it would be quite possible that the council will be held in a different place. It is difficult to talk about this now," Yakimchuk told RIA Novosti.
The OVTsSMP secretary emphasized that the final decision about the date and venue of conducting the council must be made unanimously by the primates of all Orthodox churches. "The next session of the Commission on Preparation of the council will be held in Greece. And where the next measure after that will be conducted is difficult to say. This involves, among other things, an expected preliminary conference of primates. If it is agreed to meet in Istanbul, then the conference will be there. As far as I understand, travel by our citizens to Turkey is not prohibited," the archpriest reported.
Council could be held in Russia
In his turn, the chairman of the Union of Orthodox Citizens, Valentin Lebedev, thinks that it would be better to conduct the Pan-Orthodox Council in Russia. "The latest actions by Turkey cast doubt on holding the Pan-Orthodox Council in Istanbul in the upcoming year. To achieve effectiveness of its work it is necessary to guarantee conditions of maximum security. In this context, Moscow represents the best spot," he thinks.
Earlier the head of OVTsMP, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion, told journalists that the announced date for conducting the Pan-Orthodox Council, 2016, is not final and will be "established depending upon the degree of preparation of the necessary documents." (tr. by PDS, posted 3 December 2015)
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