Patriarchate of Georgia: We are Steadfast in Our Decision which is Based on Dogmatic – not Political

Source: Orthodox Ethos

June 24, 2016

The
Romfea.gr News Agency
has published the June 23rd
response of the Patriarchate of Georgia*to the June 17th
Letter of the Patriarch of Constantinople seeking a
reversal of the Georgian Church’s Synodical decision
to not attend the Council.

The letter of the Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia, explains
once again that the reasons for not participating are
entirely on dogmatic grounds and in no way influenced by
political considerations.

The main points of the letter are as follows:

1. The Holy Synod did not receive the Constantinopalian
Patriarchate’s letter of June 13th but learned of it
through the news media. This is the reason for late
response.

2. It is incorrect for anyone to attribute political or
related interests as the reason for our decision to not
attend the Council.

3. We are praying that the Council’s decision will be
acceptable to the entire Church.

4. The Church of Georgia has never agreed to the text
“The Mystery of Marriage and Its Impediments.”
They do not consider it acceptable to overturn a canon of
an Ecumenical Council (the 72nd of the Penthekte
Ecumenical Council), which forbids mixed marriages, making
it acceptable for a non-Orthodox to participate in a
Mystery of the Church.

5. The Holy Synod has rejected this document both in its
October 8th, 1998 session and again on the 25th of May,
2016. Moreover, the Church of Georgia did not accept it at
the meeting of Primates in January. For those who cite our
agreement to the decisions of the January Synaxis of
Primates, which ordered the carrying out of the Great
Council, we respond that these decisions we made before
the vote of the Primates on the controversial text. We
signed the above decisions for the Council in the hope
that we would eventually come to agreement on all of the
texts, which, however, did not come to pass.

6. Unfortunately, our Church likewise saw no fruit from
our visit to the Phanar in April, when we asked that the
text be removed from the agenda of the Council.

7. Even now we once again ask that this text not be
included in the agenda of the Council, given that it has
not been accepted on a Pan Orthodox level, nor agreed to
by the Church of Antioch.

8. At the meeting of the Primates in January, we stated
that the texts would, after being published and made known
to the pleorma of the Church, be examined by the hierarchy
of our Church. At our May 25th meeting of the hierarchy
the following was decided:

A. The text, “Relations of the Orthodox Church with
the Rest of the Christian World,” contains serious
ecclesiological and terminological errors and, as such,
must be extensively re-worked. Short of this re-writing
the Church of Georgia will be unable to agree to it.

B. The text, “The Mission of the Orthodxo Church in
the Modern World,” likewise absolutely requires
certain changes, which we have indicated.

C. The text, “The Mystery of Marriage and Its
Impediments,” is, in its present form, unacceptable
for the above mentioned dogmatic reasons.

The Patriarch then ends his letter with a plea to the
Patriarch of Constantinople:

“We hope in your wisdom. Yet again, we express our
hope that you avert the creation of problems in the body
of the Church, as well as any decision-making, which will
cast a shadow upon the unity of the Church.”

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