Moscow, June 8, 2016
The Russian Orthodox Church will hold an emergency meeting of its Holy Synod to determine how to proceed in the situation where a number of Local Orthodox Churches have refused to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council on Crete, and to decide about its own participation in it, the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk told RIA-Novosti on Tuesday.
The Synod of the Antiochian Orthodox Church published on Tuesday its decision refusing to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council. Such a decision was also made last week by the Bulgarian Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church has called upon the Local Churches to summon an emergency pre-conciliar meeting in connection with this “extraordinary situation” which has arisen in the course of the preparations for the Council. In its turn, the Patriarchate of Constantinople announced that “no institutional structure can re-examine the conciliar process already begun.”
“I think we need to have another meeting of the Holy Synod in order to understand how to proceed in such a situation, because the fundamental positions, which we stated throughout the pre-conciliar process, are now being practically ignored. We need to respond somehow,” said Metropolitan Hilarion.
The Pan-Orthodox Council, which has been being prepared for more than fifty years, is expected to become the first gathering of primates and representatives of the Orthodox Churches in more than a thousand years. However, in the words of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the impending Council will not be “Ecumenical,” because “it has not been called to resolve dogmatic questions, or to introduce something new into the liturgical life of the Church or to its canonical order.”