Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpatkos describes problems with documents adopted on Crete

Athens, July 1, 2016

As earlier reported, one well-known contemporary
theologian, Met. Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpatkos, was
among those participants of the Council on Crete who
didn’t sign some of the documents adopted there,
raising consistent critiques of their contents and
proposing theologically reasoned amendments.

Agionoros.ru published a
statement of Met. Hierotheos, shedding light on the
events which transpired during the Holy and Great
Council on Crete, which originally appeared on the
well-known Greek portal Romfea.

Vladyka Hierotheos underlined that it was due to
“theological motivations” that he did not sign
the text “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the
Rest of the Christian World,” but the documents
“The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s
World” and “The Sacrament of Marriage and its
Impediments” were signed by him with reservations.

Vladyka reports that, in his view, all the amendments
proposed by the delegation of the Greek Orthodox Church
were in actuality rejected.

The document “Relations of the Orthodox Church with
the Rest of the Christian World” aroused the concern
of Met. Hierotheos from the very beginning, but until the
end he hoped it would be corrected thanks to amendments of
the Greek and other Local Churches.

However, at the Council the final criterion of truth was
Met. John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon: “he either
rejected, changed, or accepted the amendments.”

As a result, according to the metropolitan of Nafpatkos,
“it turned out to be a crude text,” which
until the very last moment (even at the stage of
translating into Russian, French and English) was being
amended.

Vladyka believes that the text “Relations of the
Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian
World” should have been removed from discussion. He
himself did not sign the document because it is in
conflict with things he had previously written on the
basis of the teachings of the Holy Fathers.

Metropolitan Hierotheos also reports that at the Council
the Greek Church’s amendments to the document
“Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of
the Christian World” were rejected: in the sixth
paragraph it was proposed to change “Christian
Churches and Confessions” to “Christian
confessions and communities.”

On Friday when the document was discussed the
deliberations came to a standstill. The Romanian Church
withdrew its amendment to the sixth paragraph:
“confessions and heterodox communities,” with
a choice between the Cypriot Church’s
“heterodox Churches” and the Greek
Church’s “Christian confessions and
communities” remaining.

In the afternoon at an emergency meeting of the Greek
Church’s delegation it was decided to defend the
position of the Holy Synod of the Greek Church until the
end, and a number of alternative version were proposed:
“The Orthodox Church is aware of the existence of
the heterodox” or “other Christians” or
“non-Orthodox Christians.”

As all these options were rejected, the Constantinople
Patriarch publicly offered at the evening session to hold
a meeting between Met. John of Pergamon and Met.
Hierotheos in order to work out a solution.

Met. John met this initiative cooly, while Met. Hierotheos
stated that “it’s not a personal problem, but
a question for the whole delegation of the Greek
Church.”

Then the Ecumenical Patriarch told the Athens Archbishop
that it was absolutely necessary to come to some kind of
decision.

The delegation of the Greek Church had a meeting on
Saturday morning and decided to propose the option:
“the Orthodox Church acknowledges the historical
name of other heterodox Christian churches and confessions
not in communion with it.”

Afterwards Met. Hierotheos stated that he would not sign
the text with such a formulation.

He also reports that the hierarchy of the Greek Church was
sharply criticized at the Council for its consistent
position. Perhaps it was psychological pressure that
contributed to the final formulation of the amendment
which was approved. “I was personally faced with
serious pressure and abusive behavior from the hierarchs.
According to my information other members of the Greek
Church experienced this pressure too,” says Met.
Hierotheos.

He notes that his name appears amongst the signatures on
the final edition of the text. Apparently if a primate
signed a text then the signatures of his entire delegation
were automatically included.

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