Inter-Orthodox Holy and Great Council Preparatory Commission Adjourns With Little Resolved

February 27, 2011

On 26 February 2011, a meeting of the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission devoted to the future agenda of a possible all-Orthodox Holy and Great Council adjourned. It began its work on 22 February, at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, near Geneva, in Switzerland. Metropolitan Ionnanis Zizoulas of Pergamos and Adramyttion (EP) presided over the discussions of the session, attended by representatives from the fourteen autocephalous Orthodox Churches, including a delegation of the MP led by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the MP DECR, with Archbishop Mark Arndt of Berlin and all Germany (ROCOR) and Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, the deputy chairman of the MP DECR as members, and A G Churyakov as translator.

The Commission, whose task is to make a preliminary study on the agenda of any future all-Orthodox Council, followed up its discussions of 2009 on the subject of the granting of a Tomos of Autocephaly. Despite a lengthy discussion, the conferees couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on this topic. Thus, it acknowledged that the topic of autocephaly and the manner of its proclamation required further study. The Commission also discussed the topic of the Diptychs of the First Hierarchs of the Autocephalous Local Churches, examined the canonical and ecclesiological aspects involved, described the current practise of the Church in this matter, and studied the present criteria for the inclusion of a Local Church in the Sacred Diptychs and how the order of the First Hierarchs is fixed, as well as noting a need to have a common form of the Diptychs for all the Local Churches in future.

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