Pan-Orthodox CouncilSource: Interfax-Religion

Moscow, December 28, Interfax – The chairman of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk has been cautious about prospects for convening a Pan-Orthodox Council.

“There are doubts about the very possibility of a Pan-Orthodox Council being held at a time when some of the Orthodox Churches are in a state of unsettled conflict, and the leader of the Orthodox Church of the Czech lands and Slovakia has still not had his status recognized by a number of Orthodox Churches, to say nothing of the extremely unstable general political situation worldwide,” the metropolitan said in a statement, the Russian Orthodox Church said in a press release.

At the same time the hierarch stressed that the Russian Church has always participated and continues being most actively involved in the pre-Council process, “despite the obvious difficulties in the preparations for the Pan-Orthodox Council.”

“As for specific dates of the event, I think it is too soon to talk about them,” the hierarch said.

No Pan-Orthodox Council has been convened in more than a thousand years, and preparations to conduct one have been held for half a century now.

In 2014, the leaders of the Orthodox Churches agreed to convene a Pan-Orthodox Council in Istanbul in 2016, “unless prevented by unexpected circumstances.”

“It was expected that in the remaining two years it will be possible to redact, and in certain cases, entirely re-write a significant portion of the Council’s draft documents, many of which have become obsolete despite being drafted about 30 years ago,” Metropolitan Hilarion said.

Progress in reviewing the documents was extremely slow, “as a result, of the eight topics that were expected to be put to the Council, only three have been agreed upon to date, work on the rest has never been completed,” Metropolitan Hilarion said.

“So far there is no unanimous understanding among the Orthodox Churches as to the rules under which the Pan-Orthodox Council should operate and what its regulations should be. An ad hoc inter-Orthodox commission which met recently to discuss these issues had to interrupt its work after failing to reach consensus. Many of the issues, concerning preparations for the Council, which were raised repeatedly by Most Holy Patriarch Kirill in his letters to Most Holy Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople last year, have remained without answer to this day,” Metropolitan Hilarion said.



  1. If the documents have become obsolete in a mere 30 years, perhaps the drafts did not address matters that pertain to the Church more than to worldly politics.

  2. Michael Seraphim on

    Nah, of course we must and will hold the Pan-Orthodox Synod.

    We walk together in Synodality. There is no reason we cannot hold the Pan-Orthodox Synod in 2016.

  3. There will be no “real” Pan-Orthodox Council on Pentecost in Istanbul. If a council is held, at best, it will be a Greek thing. Furthermore, there isn’t a need for such a council. All the dogmatic issues have been ironed out years ago. What + Bart wants is to increase his power and status among all the Orthodox; he wants to be an “Eastern Pope” and this will not happen. In America, the Ass of Bishops needs to be recognized as an autocephalous American Synod, cutting all administrative ties with ANY foreign bishop. Then, elect its own leader of this Synod.

  4. Today, the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued its communique on the synaxis (assembly) of the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches to be held at Chambesy, January 21-28. The English text has just been posted athttp://www.amen.gr/article/communique-of-the-ecumenical-patriarchate-about-the-synaxis-of-the-primates-in-geneva .

    As you can read, all of the primates of the 14 Local Orthodox Churches will be attending except for Patriarch John X of Antioch, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, and Metropolitan Sava of Poland. The latter three churches will be represented by delegations. Presumably, the eleven primates who will be attending will have delegations as well. Although health is given as the reason for the non-attendance by Patriarch John, one imagines whether the cessation of communion between Antioch and Jerusalem over the Qatar jurisdictional dispute might also be a motivating reason.

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