First Things is not a fan of me reposting entire articles and I honor that as long as I don't need to editorialize the entire article for the sake of intelligibility. Archdeacon John Chryssavgis has teamed up with another scholar to cite Russia as the bogeyman in this conciliar attendance problem. It fits nicely into the narrative leading up to the Council and the inter-Church antagonism in general, but it fails to address the Antioch-sized hole in the fabric of the Council.
It is the Rûm who have stated since the Qatar fiasco that this would be cause for the Council to be delayed. It is they who appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all the sister Churches to defend Antioch's territorial claim. It is they who refused to sign the agenda citing a break in communion to be an insurmountable block to holding a Great and Holy Council. If Russia echoes this concern, Moscow does so not as the first to say they would not be going. Nor were they the second or even the third. Moscow was fourth.
Speak to Antioch. Or, better yet, speak to Jerusalem. Amongst the rubble that has collected in opposition to this Council going as scheduled, it is their mess that blocks the path. Apply some pressure to roll that boulder away.
They write, "Those who sabotage the Council today are letting petty squabbles and impulses towards ethnic self-isolation prevail over walking together towards unity."
Sometimes it is sabotage to act and sometimes it sabotage to fail to act.
(First Things) - The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, an event that has been in preparation for more than half a century, will take place at the Orthodox Academy of Crete on June 19-26, 2016. The dates of the Council were unanimously approved by all autocephalous Orthodox Churches in March 2014. In January of this year, all autocephalous Orthodox Churches approved the Council’s venue and signed an agreement confirming their decision.Complete article here.
After the January meeting of the primates, the drafts of the Council documents were made public for purposes of criticism and amendment. The documents have generated intense discussion among church leaders, scholars, and all concerned. While some texts, such as “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World,” proved to be more controversial than others, the agreement to hold the Council as planned was respected by all. It was respected, that is, until two weeks ago, just before the Council is set to convene.
The decision of several churches, including the Russian Orthodox Church, to withdraw from the Council reveals a difference of opinion and intention among the churches. A majority of the local churches desire to “walk together” (the literal meaning of the word “synod” or council) towards unity, while a minority desire ethnic isolation. The Council must not and will not be postponed due to this minority. Nor will the nonparticipation of a minority invalidate the proceedings of the Council...