(Sightings) - During the meeting of Christian Orthodox Primates (heads of local Orthodox churches), which begins today in Switzerland, the participants will show the world whether the unity of the Orthodox Church is more important than their particular agendas.Complete article here.
The issue facing the Primates is whether to convene, as planned, a “Holy and Great” Council of the Orthodox Church, or Pan-Orthodox Council as it is also called, around the feast of Pentecost, in June of this year.
The Holy and Great Council (if it takes place) will have historical momentum, not only for Orthodox believers, but also for the global religious landscape.
Given increasing religious pluralism on the international scene, the fall of the Soviet Union, and growing secularization in developed countries, the convocation of a Pan-Orthodox Council is, in part, intended to signal the continued unity of communion among the fourteen independent, or autocephalous, Orthodox Churches.
The idea of convening a “Holy and Great Council,” whose name ties it to the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325), has been under discussion since the early 20th century. The Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras (1886-1972) officially initiated the pre-conciliar process in 1961 by organizing the first Panorthodox Conference in Rhodes. Five Panorthodox Preconciliar Conferences have been held to date (1976, 1982, 1986, 2009 and 2015).
One of the role of the Preconciliar Conferences has been to prepare documents on ten topics to be studied by the Council...