Russians wary about ecumenical Orthodox get-together


Interfax-Religiia, 3 February 2016


The head of the synod's Department of External Church Relations, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion, declared that the worries of some believers regarding the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council are baseless.


"Around this council there were and continue, unfortunately, to be spread a rather large number of diverse rumors. It is said, for example, that this will be the 'Eighth Ecumenical Council,' that it will be a council of the Antichrist, that at it a union with Catholics will be concluded, that all fasts will be cancelled, that it will introduce remarriage of the clergy, and that it will be a modernist council," the metropolitan stated on Wednesday at a press conference in Moscow dealing with results of the Bishops' Council.


He reported that each day the Department for External Church Relations receives letters containing a call not to travel to the "Ecumenical" or "antichrist's" council. At the same time, the bishop declared that the Russian Church does have many concerns connected with this meeting, particularly that some decisions, for example, a move to a new church calendar, will be imposed on council participants.


"We have ensured that all decisions at the Pan-Orthodox Council will be made by consensus," the metropolitan emphasized.


He said that each local church will have a delegation of 24 bishops, but each church will have one vote and "if at least one church speaks against some decision, then this decision will not pass."


In addition, the agenda will not have any questions that have not been agreed upon, and all documents that were developed in the course of preparation for the Pan-Orthodox Council have been published for study.


A Pan-Orthodox Council has not been convened for more than 1,000 years and it has been in preparation now for more than a half-century. In 2014, primates of Orthodox churches made a decision about convening a Pan-Orthodox Council in 2016 in Istanbul, while making a qualification: "if unforeseen circumstances do not prevent this." A few days ago at a meeting in Chambesy, Switzerland, Orthodox leaders made the decision to hold the council on Crete on 16 to 27 June. (tr. by PDS, posted 3 February 2016)

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