Russian Orthodox Church won’t take part in work on Pan-Orthodox Council message — source

Source: TASS

Moscow, June 10, 2016

The Russian Orthodox Church’s representative will not
take part in the drafting of the message of the
Pan-Orthodox Council, which should be ready one week
before the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church
is convened, a source from the Russian Orthodox Church
told TASS on Friday.

“The representative of our Church won’t take
part in drawing up the message,” the source said,
noting that the work was to be done by Metropolitan
Hilarion (Alfeyev), the Chairman of the Moscow
Patriarchate’s External Church Relations Department.

“He was to be in Crete these days, but under the
circumstances when Churches are one after another refusing
to attend the Pan-Orthodox Council, there isn’t much
point to us taking part in work to draft the message from
just several Churches,” the source said.

Under the Pan-Orthodox Council regulations, texts or new
issues that were not unanimously approved by Pan-Orthodox
pre-Council conferences and meetings of the primates
cannot be submitted directly for Council discussion with
the exception of the Council’s message.

Its draft will be prepared by a special all-Orthodox
Commission one week before the Council is convened and
will be subject to approval by the primates of the
Orthodox churches, the document says.

Over the recent days, Orthodox Churches have been one
after another refusing to attend the Council.

Problems sprang up in the course of final preparations for
the assembly recently, with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
saying its clerics will not attend the Council, since more
preparations are needed.

The Georgian Orthodox Church, too, voiced objections
against the documents on Christian marriage and the
contemporary mission of the Church.

On Tuesday, Syria’s Antiochian Orthodox Church said
it was unprepared to attend the Holy and Great Council.
The Serbian Orthodox Church declared its refusal to attend
on Thursday.

Should at least one of the 14 churches be absent from the
Council, it will lose the Pan-Orthodox status. The Russian
Orthodox Church proposed convening an urgent pan-Orthodox
consultative conference before June 10 ahead of the Holy
and Great Council. The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate on June 6 made a decision to proceed with
routine preparations for the Council, due in Crete on June

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