The Pan-Orthodox Council will meet in Crete at Pentecost. Its voting members will consist of hierarchs from each of the fourteen autocephalous churches. Those delegates will be accompanied by non-voting consultants that may include clergy, monastic, and/or lay participants, with no guarantee that any of them will be female. As a result, the Council is structured in such a way that women—who comprise at least 50% of Orthodox congregations—will have virtually no opportunity to make a substantive contribution on matters that affect the entire body of the Church.
Formal ecclesiastical councils, organized around bishops, have never represented the Church’s actual male-female demographics. But the Secretariat for the Preparation of the Council can take steps to redress the near-complete absence of women’s voices at this important gathering of our Church. We the undersigned support the creation of a special delegation of women, three from each of the fourteen autocephalous churches, to constitute a constructive consultative body at the Pan-Orthodox Council. The Ecumenical Patriarch is including women in his team of consultants; we encourage the other patriarchs to follow his example.
Click Here to sign this petition started by Patricia Bouteneff that will be delivered to the Secretariat for the Preparation of the Great and Holy Council at Centre Orthodoxe, Chambesy.
Note from Patricia Bouteneff
As many of you know, we have been circulating an online petition to have the organizers of the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council to create a special delegation of women as consultants to ensure that women have a voice in the important decisions that will take place there: https://www.change.org/p/centreorthodoxe-gmail-com-create-a-special-delegation-of-women-as-consultants-at-the-pan-orthodox-council?recruiter=238872296&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink
So far the petition has received some 210 signatures from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Russia, Serbia, the UK, and throughout the US. About one-third are from men. The petition will reach the council’s secretariat, but we’ve received reliable word that if we can get 500 signatures, it will be put in front of H.A.H. Patriarch Bartholomew himself. Please think about signing if you have done so already. I know that many of you have shared the petition with others. Would you share it further? Consider sending it out to 10 people in the next day or so. We have a real chance of having this idea heard by the Ecumenical Patriarch, who is the convener of this and future pan-Orthodox councils.
Yours in Christ,