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Russian Orthodox Church Pulls Out of Holy and Great Synod

1124182The rift between the Orthodox Churches became official on Monday after the Moscow Patriarchate’s decision not to participate in the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Churches that begins Thursday on Crete.
The Russian Orthodox Church asked for the postponement of the Synod, a crucial decision because the Moscow Patriarchate influences the Slav Churches.
On Monday, after the extraordinary meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, chaired by Patriarch Cyril of Moscow, it was announced that the Russian Church will not participate, asking to postpone the date of convocation of the Holy Synod.
Patriarch Cyril reportedly brought forward the issue that other patriarchates and churches refuse to participate in the meeting, protesting certain texts to be discussed. Thus, the Moscow Patriarchate calls for a postponement of the Synod in order for all Churches to come to an agreement with the Patriarchs who expressed their objections.
At the same time, Cyril said that for the successful preparation of the Synod, what could help is the “truly Panorthodox Secretariat of the Synod, which will solve the substantive differences and do the final editing of all texts in order to remove all obstacles to the convening and completion of the Holy and Great Synod.”
In previous days, the Patriarchates of Antioch, Georgia, Bulgaria and Serbia announced that they would not participate in the Crete Synod.
For its part, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has stated that the Synod will take place as planned from June 16 to 26. On Wednesday, the presiding Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is scheduled to travel to Crete. On Saturday, Bartholomew said that, “From the beginning the Ecumenical Patriarchate worked with consciousness and responsibility without sparing time and effort for the preparation and completion of this historic project.”
The Greek-speaking Churches (Greece, Cyprus, Albania, etc) have taken the side of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Along with them, about 1,000 scientists from around the world agree with Bartholomew and in an official open letter they say that, “A small minority, which wants to put at risk the proceedings of the Synod with further delays should not intimidate the vast majority of Orthodox leaders who wish to pursue their commitment to carry out the convention on this year’s feast of Pentecost… The Holy and Great Synod will provide an opportunity to begin a new phase of Orthodox testimony. As the eyes of the world are turned to the Orthodox Church, we appeal to all our leaders to listen to the Spirit call for conciliar unity.”

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