Friday, January 22, 2016

Fate of upcoming council "hangs in the balance"

(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.

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...
Complete article here.


  1. That article is a joke….and very biased. I can’t believe the author implies that the conservative voices may lead to the same problems that were experienced at the second Vatican council. If the Vatican 2 had listened to the traditional voices within their communion, they would not have suffered the deterioration into Protestantism that they face today. The big give away here, was the reference to the arch-ecumenist George Demacoupolos.

    There is no need for this council.

    1. Agree with bias and use of references. Disagree on the need for a council.

    2. I know that I sound like a pessimist. But I am old enough to see what the second Vatican council did to the Latin Catholics (I was born and raised Catholic). Suddenly, a priest who was in exile and whose teachings were banned by Pope Pius XII, was embraced by Pope John XXIII and elevated as the most influential "theologian" on that council (Yves Congar). The rest is history.

      Forgive me if I am skeptical, but there are no pernicious heresies to confront at this time that would warrant a council in the Holy Orthodox Church.

      Except perhaps the heresy of ecumenism.

  2. There is indeed the heresy of ecumenism that ought to be confronted.

    And perhaps also the attitude that parallel "jurisdictions" within the same territory separated on an ethnic basis is an acceptable and desirable way of organizing the Church -- I seem to recall that it was the Bulgarian desire to have a separate ethnic "jurisidiction" within the territory of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that was condemned as the heresy of ethnophylitism. "Jurisdictionalism" has always struck me as being ethnophylitism-lite rather as monothelitism was monophysitism-lite.