More Orthodox churches skipping world Orthodox meeting


by Megi Kikaleishvili

RIA Novosti, 10 June 2016


Representatives of the Georgian Orthodox Church declared that they will not participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council on Crete because the Constantinople patriarchate is ignoring many issues that are important for it.


"For us, the question of diptychs (lists of Orthodox churches—ed.) was important. According to a Greek diptych, the Georgian church does not occupy a place that is appropriate for it. The council bypassed such questions that are important for us as the church calendar and the question of marriage that the Georgian church ardently posed. We considered that it would be correct to refrain from participation," Metropolitan of Tsilkani and Dushet Zosima told journalists after the session of the Holy Synod in Tbilisi.


The metropolitan said that "if those documents that the council adopts are acceptable, then the Georgian church will accept them." "The results of the council will show the extent to which decisions it makes are canonical. We will analyze them and if they are accepted by the world church, then they will be legal; but if they are not, then fulfillment of them will not be obligatory," the metropolitan added.


Metropolitan of Mestia Zemo Svaneti Ilarion, in his turn, told journalists that "the chief principle of unanimity, which lies at the foundation of the conduct of the council, at this stage is not being observed and therefore the decision was made that the Georgian church will refrain from participation." He said there were also other arguments, which will later be noted in the minutes of the Holy Synod.


"Our church will not participate in the council. . . . There are some fundamental problems that should be taken into account by the Constantinople patriarchate and they are not being considered. The Georgian patriarchate will make a statement later about what issues we are talking about specifically."


Last week the synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church concluded that it is impossible to conduct the council at the scheduled time because of the nonresolution of a number of key issues. Prior to this, a number of hierarchs of the Greek, Georgian, and several other local churches had issued criticism of the wording of council documents and the Bishops' Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia pointed to "serious shortcomings" in these texts. The Russian Orthodox Church suggested convening "an emergency Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council conference no later than 10 June" because of the "extraordinary situation" which had developed during preparation of the Pan-Orthodox Council.


However the Constantinople patriarchate did not want to convene such a conference. Already this week the Antioch patriarchate refused to participate in the council and the Serbian church suggested postponing the Pan-Orthodox Council and conducting on Crete at the schedule time (16-26 June) simply an inter-Orthodox conference. Churches issuing criticism of the council do not like both a number of drafts of the council's documents and the course of the preparation of the council. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 June 2016)

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