Metropolitan Irinej of Bačka: Council members didn’t have the right to vote

Athens, July 9, 2016

Metropolitan Irinej of Bačka, who took part in the
Crete Council as part of the delegation of the Serbian
Orthodox Church, explained on the pages of the Greek site

Romfea
precisely why he refused to sign the
document entitled “Relations of the Orthodox Church
with the Rest of the Christian World.”

Vladkya Irinej thus confirmed the information reported in
Greek media that he was one of those who did not sign the
document.

“I did not sign the document ‘Relations of the
Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian
World,’” writes His Grace Irinej,
“because the episcopal members of the Council had
the right to express themselves, but not the right to
vote. At the Council instead of the rule adopted by the
Apostles and commanded by the Holy Fathers of ‘one
man, one vote,’ another rule was in force:
‘one autocephalous Church, one vote.’ In other
words, only the primates of the Local Churches have the
right to vote.

From this rule, in his opinion, flows the following:

  1. The Council presents itself not as an institution of
    the one unified Body of the Church, but as a parliamentary
    body, consisting of independent and self-sustaining
    Churches;
  2. The Council of primates of the Churches acted in
    essence as a gathering of popes;
  3. Intentionally or not, the Council is belittled to the
    level of a gathering of the primates of Local Churches who
    simply have an extended accompanying delegation.

“Therefore,” concludes Vladyka Irinej,
“the difference between an Orthodox bishop and a
heterodox observer at the Council is simply that the first
can speak at his own discretion, while the second sits
silently: neither one could decide anything.”

The only thing a bishop could have done is to not sign a
text that does not express his convictions.

“But the main reason I didn’t sign the
document is its ecclesiologically ambiguous and dubious
contents in a few places which border on heretical
teachings,“ Vladyka Irinej explained.

The publication of the open letter of His Grace Irinej of
Bačka and the recent statement of Metropolitan
Amfilohije of Montenegro on television confirmed that
these two delegates of the Serbian Orthodox Church refused
to sign the aforementioned document. It is important to
note that both bishops played one of the key roles in the
work of the Serbian delegation and were present during all
of the meetings in the presidium together with the Serbian
Patriarch, Irinej.

The statements of these two delegates simultaneously state
that the number of Serbian bishops who refused to sign the
document “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the
Rest of the Christian World” could be much larger.

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