Czech-Slovak Church supports Jerusalem’s initiative for pan-Orthodox council on Ukraine

Prague, Czech Republic, December 19, 2019

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The Holy Synod of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia gathered in Prague on Tuesday, December 17 under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav. The hierarchs discussed a number of topical issues concerning the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s recent actions in Ukraine and in the Czech Republic.

In particular, the hierarchs adopted a resolution supporting the convocation of the primates of the Local Churches in Jordan in February 2020, as proposed by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem. The Synod thus welcomes the beginning of an official dialogue to resolve the Church crisis in Ukraine, reports the official Church site.

Pat. Theophilos’ invitation came during his acceptance speech after receiving the Patriarch Alexei II Award for working towards Church unity from the International Public Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Peoples in Moscow last month.

Addressing his fellow primates, His Beatitude said:

We would like to host, in our home as the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, our brothers, the primates of the Orthodox Church, to gather in the spirit of fellowship—koinonia—so that counsel will be taken together for the preservation of our unity in Eucharistic communion. The unity of the Church in faith and life is a gift of the Holy Spirit, but it is our God-given responsibility—as those to whom the ministry of our Churches, being the mystical body of Christ, has been entrusted—to guard the unity of the Church, even to the point of undergoing sacrifice. We have no choice before God but to commit every effort to defend our unity.

We take this opportunity, therefore, to declare open our home in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, for hosting this “fraternal gathering in love” so that together we may be a witness to the Church and to the world of the unity of the Orthodox Church and our Orthodox faith.

However, the next day, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens announced that he would not heed the Patriarch’s call for brotherly fellowship and would not attend any council not called by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

The Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia is the first Local Church to officially support the Patriarch of Jerusalem’s invitation.

The Synod also forbade other Local Churches from creating structures on the territory of the Czech-Slovak Church, in response to the Patriarchate of Constantinople legally registering a monastery for itself in the Czech Republic without the Synod’s blessing, and addressed the fact of Bishop Isaiah (Slaninka) of Šumperk having concelebrated with the Ukrainian schismatics last month.

The Synod also adopted the text of its 2019/2020 Nativity Epistle.

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