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Source: Pravoslavie.ru I. On Orthodox Marriage The institution of the family is threatened today by such phenomena as secularization and moral relativism. The Orthodox Church maintains, as her fundamental and indisputable teaching, that marriage is sacred. The freely entered union of man and woman is an indispensable precondition for marriage. In the Orthodox Church, marriage is considered to be the oldest institution of divine law because it was instituted simultaneously with the creation of Adam and Eve, the first human beings (Gen 2:23). Since its origin, this union not only implies the spiritual communion of a married couple—a man and…

Source: Pravoslavie.ru THE IMPORTANCE OF FASTING AND ITS OBSERVANCE TODAY Fasting is a divine commandment (Gen 2:16-17). According to Basil the Great, fasting is as old as humanity itself; it was prescribed in paradise (On Fasting, 1, 3. PG 31, 168A). It is a great spiritual endeavor and the foremost expression of the Orthodox ascetic ideal. The Orthodox Church, in strict conformity with the apostolic precepts, the synodal canons, and the patristic tradition as a whole, has always proclaimed the great significance of fasting for our spiritual life and salvation. The annual liturgical cycle reflects the entire patristic teaching on…

Source: Pravoslavie MESSAGE OF THE HOLY AND GREAT COUNCIL OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH To the Orthodox people and to all people of good will To God, “the Father of mercies and all comfort,” we address a hymn of thanksgiving and praise for having enabled us to gather during the week of Pentecost (18-26 June 2016) on Crete, where the Apostle Paul and his disciple Titus preached the Gospel in the early years of the life of the Church. We give thanks to the Triune God who was well pleased that in one accord we should bring to a conclusion the…

Source: Orthodox Church in America ORTHODOX ACADEMY OF CRETE [Multiple Sources]  The Holy and Great Council officially concluded with the Patriarchal concelebration of the Divine Liturgy on June 26, 2016—the Sunday of All Saints—at which His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople presided.  The Council’s concluding session was held one day earlier. According to a release issued by the Press Office of the Holy and Great Council, His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, “expressed his joy for the willing and positive response of the Local Autocephalous Orthodox Churches in attendance.  At the same time, he underlined the immense efforts, over many…

Source: Pravoslavie.ru The Patriarchate of Constantinople has no plans to return the “New Territories” in its immediate jurisdiction, as Patriarch Bartholomew stated to Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens during a meeting of the Crete Council, writes Orthodoxia.info. Today the primates and bishops participating in the Council are discussing the draft document on the mechanism for granting a Church’s “autonomy.” The Greek Church had already proposed an amendment to the document. Immediately after the proposal of the amendment, the Patriarch told the Archbishop that, inasmuch as the question of the “New Territories” is the cause of misunderstanding on the part of people…

Source: Union of Orthodox Journalists June 21, the second day of the Orthodox Church Council’s work on Crete, saw discussion of the problem of the Orthodox Church diaspora, reports Romfea. The problem of the Church diaspora will be discussed with great difficulty at the Crete Synaxis due to the absence of the delegations of the Russian and Antiochian Orthodox Churches. Representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church noted during the discussion that in the absence of Local Churches “with great dispersions” it is impossible to make decisions which affect their interests. In his presentation Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, for his part,…

Source: Press Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate CRETE—On the third day of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Beatitude Patriarch Irinej of Serbia at the Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of Gonia. Afterward, the hierarchs continued their work in the sixth, seventh, and eighth sessions of the Council. In the sixth session, the hierarchs of the Council continued their discussion on The Orthodox Diaspora; in the seventh session, they focused on Autonomy and the Means by which it is Declared; and in the eighth session, they reviewed The Importance of…

Source: Press Office of the Holy and Great Council CRETE—The official texts of the opening speeches and adresses for the Holy and Great Council are available at https://www.holycouncil.org/documents in their original languages. Translations will be posted as they become available. More than 320 journalists, representing 138 media outlets and 25 countries, have received credentials for the Council. Daily media briefings are broadcast live at approximately 15.30 GMT +3 (8:30 am EDT) at https://www.holycouncil.org/live, and available as video on demand. The Council continues meeting through June 25, concluding with the Divine Liturgy on June 26. On June 25, the Closing Session of…

Source: Sputnik News The budget of the council of Eastern Orthodox Churches underway on the Greek island of Crete has amounted to 2.5 million euros (some $2.8 million), including $1.5 million from US donors, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America said Tuesday. KOLYMBARI (CRETE) (Sputnik) — According to Father Alexandros, the US funds have come from non-state sources only, and the US government was involved neither in organizing nor in financing the Council. “It is 2.5 million euros. All these are funds from donors, mostly from Greeks living in the United States and Greeks in Greece itself. Donors from the US have provided 1.5 million euros, from Greece — one million,” Reverend…

Source: Press Office of the Holy and Great Council CRETE—On the second day of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, the Divine Liturgy was held at the Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of Gonia, with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem presiding from the throne. Afterward, the Hierarchs continued their work in the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sessions of the Council. The Third Session of the Council continued the discussion on The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World, while the Fourth and Fifth Sessions focused on The Orthodox Diaspora. Following extensive discussion, various suggestions and…

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