Russia still drags its feet on world Orthodox meeting


RIA Novosti, 11 January 2016


The Russian Orthodox Church (RPTs) still has not received official notification from the Constantinople patriarchate about the transfer of the place for conducting a meeting of primates of local Orthodox Churches from Istanbul to Geneva, RIA Novosti was told by the secretary for inter-Orthodox relations of the Department of External Church Relations (OVTsS) of the Moscow patriarchate, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk.


Earlier the Greek news agency Romfeia reported that Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew made a decision about moving the meeting to Geneva so that representatives of all local churches, without exception, would be able to participate. To conduct the meeting of primates on 21 January in Istanbul, as previously planned, is not feasible because of the recommendation of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) to citizens of the RF to refrain from travel to Turkey.

"We still have not received an official letter about this, and notification in some other form also has not arrived," Yakimchuk said.


The representative of the OVTsS clarified that questions connected with the planning and agenda of the meeting, and also the format of the participation of the RPTs in it, will be decided after the receipt of a letter from the Constantinople patriarchate.


The news agency's interlocutor noted at the same time that, most likely, primates of local Orthodox churches may meet "in the Constantinople patriarchate's center in the Chambesy suburb of Geneva, where such events usually are held." He stressed that before receiving an official letter about the venue of the conference it is possible "only to suppose."


The conduct of the Pan-Orthodox Council, whose preparation began more than 50 years ago, had been scheduled preliminarily for 2016 in Istanbul. That decision was made at a meeting of the heads and representatives of all local Orthodox churches. At that time the hierarchs specified that the council will be held in the event that "it is not prevented by unforeseen circumstances." (tr. by PDS, posted 11 January 2016)

Background article:
Location of 2016 world meeting of Orthodox churches in doubt (2)
December 1, 2015

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