Sofia, October 26, 2018
The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church will meet in an extraordinary session on November 5 to discuss the question of convening a pan-Orthodox Council in connection with the initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to create an autocephalous Ukrainian Church, Bulgarian Church representative Archpriest Nikolai Georgiev told TASS yesterday.
“At the upcoming meeting, the metropolitans will decide whether or not to support Patriarch Kirill’s proposal to convene a pan-Orthodox Council to resolve the contradictions that have arisen in the Orthodox Church, or, to publish their opinion, having previously considered the Church documents from more than 300 years ago,” Fr. Nikolai explained.
Early this month, Pat. Kirill wrote to all the primates of the world’s 15 Local Orthodox Churches to inform them about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and to propose opening a pan-Orthodox discussion on the matter.
The Bulgarian Holy Synod then met to discuss the matter on October 5. The Synod voted at that time to create a commission to more closely study Pat. Kirill’s letter and the entire issue, although three metropolitans—Gabriel of Lovech, John of Varna, and Daniil of Vidin—did believe already at that time that it was necessary to call for a pan-Orthodox Council.
The three metropolitans’ statement was then published on the official site of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
The Synod’s decision was then widely mis-reported as an outright rejection of Pat. Kirill’s proposal, though as this upcoming session makes clear, the Synod has not yet decided on the matter of calling a pan-Orthodox Council.
The situation has also drastically changed since the Bulgarian Synod last met. At that time, Patriarch Bartholomew had sent two Exarch Bishops to Kiev to coordinate with the two schismatic organizations there, and the Russian Church had ceased commemorating and concelebrating with Constantinople hierarchs. Since then, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that it was reinstating and entering into communion with the Ukrainian schismatics, and was rescinding the 1686 document whereby the Kiev Metropolia was transferred from the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Moscow Patriarchate. In response, the Russian Orthodox Church announced that it was breaking communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Several Orthodox Holy Synods have already officially noted the need for pan-Orthodox cooperation on the matter, including the Romanian Synod which met yesterday, and the Antiochian and Georgian Holy Synods. The same call has also been made by the primates of the Polish, Serbian, Antiochian, and Czech and Slovak Churches, and also by a joint Antiochian-Serbian statement.
Follow us on Facebook!