Pan-Orthodox Council still a go – spokesman for Ecumenical Patriarch

Heraklion, Greece
17 June 2016

By Andrea Gagliarducci

Despite last-minute defections by representatives of four Orthodox Patriarchates, a spokesman for the Ecumenical Patriarch insists that the Council of the Orthodox Churches will still speak for all of Eastern Orthodoxy and will foster Orthodox unity as well.

“The Holy and Great Council may not have all Churches in attendance, but I find it very difficult not to call it ‘Pan-Orthodox’,” Father John Chryssavgis told CNA June 17. He is the spokesman for Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

The Russian, Georgian, Bulgarian and Antiochian Orthodox Churches have decided not to send representatives to the council set to begin June 19, due to various concerns and objections.

Fr. Chryssavgis said the initial consensus among the 14 Orthodox Churches to convene and to attend the council still stands.

“Unfortunately, however, for whatever reason, some Churches decided at the very last minute that they cannot attend. However, that does not change the Pan-Orthodox validity of the council or the Pan-Orthodox authority of its decisions,” the Orthodox priest said.

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