Two responses from Antiochian Patriarchate to statements made concerning it at Council press briefings

June 24, 2016

Response from Patriarchate Antioch to statements of EP
representative, by the Most Reverent Damaskinos,
Metropolitan of Brazil

The official and reverend representative of the
secretariat of the conference on Crete (from June 17 to
26, 2016) set forth on June 21, 2016, as part of the
official press conference of the second day of the work of
the conference, that the Patriarchate of Antioch
“during the discussions that took place in January
2016 in Chambesy, …raised no disagreement and did not
object at all to the convening of the ‘Holy and
Great Synod,’ and these words are in the minutes of
that Synaxis…”

For this reason, then, we are interested in giving a reply
to such irresponsible statements and to clear up, to the
Christ-bearing fullness of the Church, the official
position of the ancient and apostolic Patriarchate of
Antioch.

First: We wonder how a member of the secretariat of the
conference of Crete, on his own account, is permitted to
speak on behalf of the Church of Antioch, resulting in his
own expression of this position relevant to
Antioch’s non-participation in the conference of
Crete.

Second: The view is not correct, which he expressed
concerning the Patriarchate of Antioch not signing the
three documents at the Synaxis of Chambesy in January
2016, as he says that “the reasons for not signing
those documents were not due to any disagreement with the
content of the texts in question. It consisted simply, and
only, of a protest over the fact that the question of
Qatar has not been settled and resolved…” This is
incorrect.

Third: His statement that “the decision of convening
the Synod was unanimously adopted” is not correct.

The charges of the reverend representative in question
which have no relation to the truth surprise us. Let us
emphasize that he himself was present at the Synaxis of
the Primates in Chambesy and he was a witness to the clear
protest and dissent of the delegates of the Patriarchate
of Antioch, not for “personal reasons” as has
been maintained, but rather because of the content of the
text of the “Rules of the Great Council.” He
forgot all the more that the delegation of Antioch also in
three plenary sessions expressed the necessity of
introducing into the text an additional paragraph
concerning the necessity of the participation of the 14
Autocephalous Churches in the Great Synod, and the
delegation stressed verbatim: “This is the position
of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch! This is
the position of the most holy Church of Antioch!” And
the delegation added this: “We do not sign and no
consensus exists!”

All this is found, word for word, in the minutes of the
Synaxis and of this there is no room for doubt.

It is also clear that, in the three texts which the Church
of Antioch refused to sign, Her representative wrote these
precise words: “The position of the Church of Antioch
is in opposition to this text and for this reason we do
not add our signature.”

The fact that the Church of Antioch continued to
participate in the preparatory work after the Assembly in
January and that it translated the texts of the synod into
Arabic and that it sent the names of the members of its
delegation to the conference in Crete, etc., is yet
another proof of the sincere effort on the side of the
Patriarchate of Antioch toward success in pan-Orthodox
cooperation and the finding of solutions for issues which
are being disputed by the Churches.

For further clarifications, the communiqué of the
Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch on 6 June 2016
clearly states the official position of the Patriarchate
of Antioch.

* * *

Rebuttal of Secretariat of Council on
Crete by Antioch’s Metropolitan Silouan of Great
Britain

The Romfea.gr news agency has published the response of
the Metropolitan of Great Britain, Silouan, of the
Patriarchate of Antioch, to the official spokesmen of the
Council in Crete.

“The press representatives of the Synod of Churches
in Crete insist on distorting the truth concerning the
position of the Patriarchate of Antioch with respect to
the Council,” the statement begins.

Metropolitan Silouan goes on to say that the repeated
claims that the Patriarch of Antioch signed the decisions
made by the Primates of the Chambesy meeting in January
are false and misleading and have been decisively answered
with the publication of the relevant documents. Moreover,
he writes, not only did the Patriarchate of Antioch not
sign, it’s representatives publicly declared that it
will not sign on account of their inconsistency with the
(other) decisions of the meeting.

“It is our duty to state unequivocally that the
Church of Antioch signed neither the decisions of Chambesy
in 2016 nor the text outlining the rules and organization
of the Council, nor the text on marriage and its
impediments.”

The participation of the Patriarchate of Antioch in the
preparatory meetings was “kat’ oikonomian”
[according to economy—O.C.] always with the
expectation and hope that its concerns would be met and
the obstacles would be removed.

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