Great Pan-Orthodox Council Meeting “Postponed”

March 3, 2011  [, ]

(Editor’s note: this is very sad news. The recent push towards jurisdictional unity in the USA is now in question given the failure of Constantinople and Russia to reach consensus on Constantinople’s role in granting autocephaly. What, if any, impact this has to the Episcopal Assembly has yet to be seen.)

Representatives of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox Churches, given the failure to reach an agreement during the last pan-Orthodox meeting last week in Chambesy, on the issues of granting autocephalous status and Dipticha, themes that were outstanding after the penultimate meeting, have suspended all activities emphasizing the latent differences in the Orthodox world.

The final statement, a very laconic and very one signed by the president of the meeting, Metropolitan of Pergamon Ioannis Zizoulas, makes no secret that there are difficulties due to a certain protagonism present in some areas of the Orthodox world. These preparatory meetings began in 2009, wanted by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in order to prepare the coveted pan-Orthodox synod, which has not taken place since 1054, the year of the schism between Rome and Constantinople. The Synods gather representatives of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox Churches.

Topping the agenda of this last meeting was the completion of discussions on the issue of granting autocephalous status, ie the granting of independence of self-administration of an Orthodox Church. This self-management includes the ability to elect their own bishops and head archbishop of the autocephalous Church. It also had to consider the so-called Dipticha, that the rules of mutual recognition among the canonical Orthodox Churches. According to practice, any decision taken in these meetings must be approved unanimously by the representatives of the 14 autocephalous churches

In fact it was at the final act of the debate on how to seal recognition of the autocephalous nature of a Church by the other Orthodox sister Churches that sparked disagreement between the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Metropolitan of Pergamon Ioannis Zizoulas and the representative of Moscow, Metropolitan Hilarion.

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