Ecumenical Patriarchate Calls on Bulgarian Church to Participate in Pan-Orthodox Council

World | June 7, 2016, Tuesday // 15:24|  views

Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte. Photo: BGNES

After an extraordinary meeting on Monday, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople called on all autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches, including the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council which is scheduled to take place in Crete from June 16 to 26.

Earlier in June, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church took an unanimous decision to withdraw its participation from the Pan-Orthodox Council. The decision was officially signed by Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte and the metropolitan bishops who are members of the Holy Synod.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has justified its decision with the formalisation of the Council and the lack of dialogue. According to it, Council will simply vote on decisions which can not be discussed and changed.

Among the reasons for its decision are the lack of topics of significant importance on the agenda of the Pan-Orthodox Council, the disagreement of some autocephalous churches with some of the already approved texts of the Council and the rigid rules which do not allow to edit texts during the Council.

Initially, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church called for postponement of the Council, with the withdrawal of its participation stated as a second option.

The Pan-Orthodox Council was meant to bring together the bishops of all universally recognised autocephalous local (national) churches of Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

At its meeting on Monday, the extended Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate established with surprise the decisions of some the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox chuches not to take part in the Council.

According to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, no institutional framework exists to review the Council procedure which is already in place.

Meeting at its seat in the Istanbul neighourhood of Fener, the Ecumenical Patriarchate also reviewed the demands of the Moscow patriarchate for an extraordinary meeting prior to the Council as well as the problem with the Church of Antioch which is in dispute with the Church of Jerusalem over Qatar.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate calls on all autocephalous churches to bring with them to the Council their proposals for changes, amendments and additions to the initially approved texts.

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Tags: Bulgaria, orthodox church, Eastern Orthodox, Pan-Orthodox Council, Ecumenical Patriarchate, Constantinople, Patriarch Neophyte, Holy Synod, Crete


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