Bulgarian Orthodox Church withdraws from Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete

Source: The Sofia Globe

June 1, 2016


The governing body of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the Holy Synod, signalled on June 1 its withdrawal from the Pan-Orthodox Council to be held on Crete from June 16 to 26.

Strictly speaking, the Holy Synod demanded the postponement of the council unless its various demands were met, but given that this is unlikely to happen, the Synod’s decision effectively amounts to withdrawal.

The Pan-Orthodox Council has been planned as the first such gathering in about 1000 years, but has been beset by controversies – one of the most significant ones being the fact that it is being held in Crete, not in Istanbul, the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch. The move was made under Russian pressure because of the tensions between Moscow and Ankara.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church, where senior figures are strongly influenced by their Russian Orthodox co-religionist Church figures, said that it would not participate if Bulgarian proposals for “thematic and organizational changes” to the planned council were not taken account of and respected.

The Holy Synod said that at its June 1 meeting, it had held “extensive discussions” on issues related to the convening of the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church in Crete in June.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s leaders found a number of pretexts to call for the postponement of the Pan-Orthodox Council meeting and to say that unless the council was postponed, the Church would not participate.

The Holy Synod listed six objections.

These included, the Church said, the absence from the agenda of the council topics of particular importance for Orthodox Christianity “that have contemporary relevance and require a timely Pan-Orthodox Council resolution”.

The Synod did not say what these topics were.

The Holy Synod said that the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches had already officially declared disagreements on some of the texts already approved for the council meeting.

It also objected to the rule that at the Pan-Orthodox Council, texts being discussed would not be subject to editing in the course of discussions.

Further, the Bulgarian Church objected that the proposed seating arrangements for the primates of the Orthodox Churches in the meeting room “violates the principle of equality of the primates of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches”.

It also objected to the “inappropriate location of observers and guests of the Pan-Orthodox Council”.

Finally, the Holy Synod objected to the need to undertake “large and unjustified” expenses for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to take part in the Pan-Orthodox Council.

The Holy Synod said that it had decided unanimously for the Pan-Orthodox Council to be postponed while preparations continue, and unless this postponement happened, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church would not take part.

The Sofia Globe


biktop6/2/2016 8:06 am
What are their REAL reasons?
Fr Robert Garrione6/2/2016 5:46 am
Thank you for the news on the Gruden holy cow it's sad to see you but I'm sure those screws used thank you for the news on the Gruden holy counsel is sad to see Such disagreements among the arrows are such disagreements among the Herald of truth
Richard Mohr6/2/2016 2:50 am
We cannot finish something if we do not begin. Please, if we claim to be the true Church, we should be able to meet, even if conditions are not exactly as we would like them.

We should not act as though we are Protestants. I used to be a Protestant, so I know what I am talking about. If I had not gone to teach English in Harbin, China, where Father Gregory Zhu and his parishioners were faithful Orthodox, I would not be Orthodox today. Think about them and others that kept the faith and then go to Crete.
Editor6/2/2016 12:20 am
Br. Anthony: Here is a link to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church's webpage giving basically the same information (in Bulgarian):http://www.bg-patriarshia.bg/news.php?id=205494
Br Anthony6/1/2016 10:51 pm
The title is very misleading... and I hope this report is accurate as it's not directly from the Church itself...
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