The large Orthodox Council, an unprecedented meeting since a millennium supposed to seal the unity of Orthodox Christian churches around the world, opened on Sunday in Crete, but weakened by several absences, including that of the booming Russian Patriarch Kirill.
Sunday, the day of the Orthodox Pentecost kick the council was given by a “divine liturgy” (Mass) celebrated town in Heraklion, the capital of the island, ten primates, including the Ecumenical Patriarch Constantinople Bartholomew, who has an honorary primacy of his peers. Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos attended the Mass, broadcast live by state television ERT.
Prepared for over fifty years, and without precedent since the historic 1054 schism between Rome and Constantinople, the great Council aims to strengthen the Orthodox ranks. But the family picture remains incomplete, and the work that must continue until June 27 in Chania (northwest of Crete) will be marked by four absences.
Besides Patriarch Kirill with the Russian Church weighs demographically for half the Orthodox communion with nearly 130 million members, will also be absent Primates of Antioch, Bulgaria, and Georgia. The blow is hard for the instigators of appointment, chief among them Patriarch Bartholomew, whose influence is challenged for years by the Russian Church.
Absentee expressed at the last moment, citing essentially procedural issues, despite the green light they had first given to holding the appointment. “The unity of Orthodoxy is good for us all. These are the missing who will lose, “said Nikos Kotzias, the Foreign Minister of Greece, where Orthodoxy is qualified by the formation of” dominant religion “.
Pope Francis, in his prayer on Sunday afternoon on the Place Saint-Pierre, prayed for the great Orthodox council. “Let us join our Orthodox brethren, invoking the Holy Spirit to assist with his gifts patriarchs, archbishops and bishops assembled in council,” he said before reciting a crowd with a ” Hail Mary “in Italian. “This great and holy council will carry the message of unity,” said for his part Patriarch Bartholomew from Crete, quoted by the media.
Estimated at about 250 million followers, the “Orthodox communion” consists of 14 autocephalous churches, shaken by the upheavals in the former Soviet bloc and the Middle East, and frequently plagued by national and political strife.
The participants, hundreds of bishops and advisers must validate six documents rather consensual supposed to update the Orthodox witness, make it audible and managing relations with the rest of the Christian world. A “final message” must also be issued after the work.
Stéphane © armenews.com