The Convocation of the Holy and Great Synod of Orthodoxy is a Necessity
Considering the debates that have recently arisen about the planned Holy Synod of Orthodoxy, we feel obliged to briefly emphasize the following:
- The decision about the convocation of the respective Synod was taken in the last two Synaxes of the Primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, in Istanbul in 2014 and in Chambésy (Geneva) in 2016. The decision taken in Istanbul was not signed by one of the churches, nonetheless it was approved by the majority. The same happened in the assembly of 2016 in Geneva.
- The cancellation of the convocation of the Holy and Great Synod cannot occur without a new decision taken by the body who decided on this convocation. It cannot be canceled at the last minute through declarations and messages delivered from various directions.
- The consensus (harmony, unity, unanimity) begins to function when the Church organs meet together, study the issues and make decisions. The meaning of consensus was clarified in the introductory speech of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in 2016 in Chambésy and no notifications of objections were received. Consensus does not mean veto. Generally, the respective twenty-century ecclesiastical tradition must not be underestimated particularly during the decision-making procedures of the synod.
- Obviously, many problems exist. This is exactly the reason why the conduct of the Holy and Great Synod is a necessity. It is impossible for all problems to be resolved, but at least some of them will be dealt with. A little is better than nothing at all. The remaining issues will hopefully be addressed in a forthcoming meeting. The postponement of the planned Holy Synod would hurt the Orthodox people throughout the world and blemish the reputation of Orthodoxy.
- Finally, one heartfelt request to the Pan-Orthodox Synod secretariat (Regulation of Organization and Operation. No. 6.7, paragraph 7), which will meet tomorrow in Crete for the final decisions: Let all the efforts be made in order for all members to participate in the solemn and inaugural celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Holy Pentecost and Vespers of the Holy Spirit. This is symbolically an important union. Such a journey undertaken by numerous groups of people from a great distance increases the expenses, the fatigue, the contingencies but also the potential risks. Let the wishes and other interests be sacrificed and priority be given to a flawless and calm conduct of the sessions of the Holy and Great Synod.
‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!’ (Eph. 3: 20-21).
June 8, 2016, Tirana
Leave-taking Feast of Easter
Holy Synod of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania