With the recent revelation that the Ecumenical Patriarchate knew quite well that Antioch was never coming until things in Qatar were settled (see this and image below), the narrative that Russians pulling out of the Council destabilized the entire process grows even weaker. Fr. Patrick B. O'Grady's Podcast entitled "Harbinger of Storm or Passage to Calm?" speaks to the position of an Antiochian priest on the topic of the nature of the Council in Crete.
|Where Antioch's signature was to go in approving the conciliar agenda: "The Church of Antioch has a contrary opinion and therefore is not signing."|
(AFR) - The so-called “Pan-Orthodox Synod” is about to convene on the island of Crete. It has been promoted with the epithet, “holy and great,” something traditionally reserved for fully ecumenical synods. Despite the hopes, this is now proving to be essentially only a partial Orthodox synod: the primatial hierarchs of some of the Local Churches have arrived and are greeting each other. Others are staying home, “the wind not permitting (them) to proceed” to a fully Pan-Orthodox Synod. Whether this synod will be “holy and great” is not up to the promoters to say ahead of time, but rather in the proof of its actions and substance as received by the Church in her catholic fullness, clergy and laity. So we can assuredly say now that we are talking about a Partial Orthodox Synod.Complete article here (PDF).
Where do matters stand on the eve of this synod of primates and their select episcopal entourages? As of this writing, four venerable Local Churches have announced their non- attendance, on principle: Bulgaria, Georgia, Antioch and Russia, in the order of the time of their announcement not to attend. The holy Synod of the Church of Serbia had also decided not to attend, but in the end, they reversed themselves with reservations, on conditions which could lead to a walk-out. The Church of Russia is expressing its strong conviction that no synod can be called “Pan-Orthodox” unless every church is present and whose grievances are heard and acted upon. Patriarch Kirill, via formal letter (17 June 2016) to the synaxis now in Crete: ...the absence of the Church of Antioch’s consent to convene the Council means that we have not reached pan-Orthodox consensus. We cannot ignore the voices of the Georgian, Serbian and Bulgarian Churches either, who have spoken for a postponement of the Council to a later date... Surely this succinctly states the matter with clarity...