Balamand, Lebanon, October 11, 2021
The Holy Synod of the Antiochian Orthodox Church has again issued a call for a dialogue on “controversial issues” that threaten Church unity.
In October 2018, the Synod called upon Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to urgently summon a Synaxis of the Primates of the autocephalous Churches against the background of Constantinople’s unilateral interference in Ukraine. Unfortunately, Constantinople proceeded with its plans and entered into communion with the Ukrainian schismatics and created a new structure in December of that year.
Various Antiochian hierarchs, including His Beatitude Patriarch John X, have continued to call for Pat. Bartholomew to enter into dialogue on the issue. The Synods, primates, and hierarchs of other Local Churches have made been making the same call for years.
The Antiochian Synod’s latest statement, from their recent session in Balamand, reads:
The Synod Fathers considered the challenges facing Orthodoxy in the contemporary world, and stressed the importance of preserving the unity of Orthodoxy, respecting the canonical tradition of the Church, and avoiding anything that would exacerbate existing disputes, potentially transforming these disputes into larger and more consequential divisions in the one body of Christ. In this regard, they called for the opening of a comprehensive dialogue concerning all the accumulated controversial issues in order to find solutions that would allow the restoration of ecclesiastical communion within the one Orthodox family.
“Avoiding anything that would exacerbate existing disputes, potentially transforming these disputes into larger and more consequential divisions in the one body of Christ,” likely refers to Moscow’s recently announced plans to receive about 100 African priests into its jurisdiction as well as Constantinople’s attack on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Recall that in April 2019, Pat. John met with the primates of Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Cyprus about Church unity issues in Cyprus, though, unfortunately, the primates of Alexandria and Cyprus subsequently renounced their Orthodox positions and also entered into communion with the graceless schismatics of Ukraine.
In February 2020, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem held a fraternal gathering in Amman, Jordan. As expected, Pat. Bartholomew and the other Greek primates who follow his agenda refused to attend. The Antiochian Patriarchate also chose not to send a delegation.