Source: Basilica News Agency
January 23, 2016
Address of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania, delivered in the opening of the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, January 22, 2016, Chambésy, Switzerland:
Dear brothers in Christ,
First, we give thanks to God for this blessed event that allows us to express our co-responsibility for the life of the entire Orthodox Church and to collaborate for the assembly of the future Holy and Great Orthodox Synod.
We are grateful to His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for inviting us to this Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches held at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Switzerland.
Furthermore, we appreciate the works undertaken by the representatives of the Orthodox Churches during the last meetings of the Special Commission for Preparing Documents of the Holy and Great Synod and during the fifth Pre-Synodal Conference, even though there are still several aspects regarding the final form of the documents that need to be clarified or dealt with.
The introductory report of the Ecumenical Patriarch indicates that the final preparation of the Holy and Great Orthodox Synod represents a difficult task, but not an impossible one when we ask the help of God and collaborate with great responsibility.
The entire world has already been informed regarding the summoning of the Holy and Great Orthodox Synod later this year, in the month of June.
On the other hand, there are some Orthodox theologians, monastics and lay people who consider the Pan-Orthodox Synod unnecessary for the moment, or that it has not been sufficiently prepared (although over 50 years were dedicated to its preparation).
In order to emphasize the necessity of the meeting of the future Holy and Great Synod, we must recall that conciliarity represents a canonical norm of the ecclesial life in every Autocephalous Orthodox Church. However, synodality must also become a rule for universal Orthodoxy, by regular Synodal meetings (every 5, 7 or 10 years). From this point of view, the future Holy and Great Synod must not be considered an eschatological event, but rather an important historical event for the development of synodality on a Pan-Orthodox level. More precisely, other Pan-Orthodox Synods must successively follow the future Pan-Orthodox Synod, in order to discuss the themes on which consensus has not been yet reached, or other new themes related to current problems in the life of the Church or society, such as: family life; parish and monastery life against the phenomenon of secularization; massive migration, especially caused by armed conflicts or by economic crises; solidarity with persecuted Christians all over the world, and other major themes related to the pastoral and social ministry of the Church in the world.
Therefore, we must have a dynamic pastoral view on conciliarity, manifested in successive or regular stages every five, seven or ten years, for the benefit of the entire Orthodox Church.
Patriarch of Romania