Resolution of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Regarding the Pan-Orthodox Council

Natalya Mihailova | 02 June 2016

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16-26 June 2016, Island of Crete

1 June 2016, Bulgarian Patriarchate.

In today’s meeting in full session, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church of the Bulgarian Patriarchate (Protocol №12/1.06.2016) held detailed discussions on the questions concerning the convocation of the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church, to be held from 16 to 26 June, 2016 on the island of Crete.

With reference to the Pan-Orthodox Council, the Holy Synod ruled to propose to postpone it and also to withdraw from participating in the Council unless Bulgarian propositions for thematic and organisational changes were taken into account and addressed.

The Holy Synod adopted its position based on the following significant reasons and circumstances:

  1. the absence from the agenda of the Pan-Orthodox Council of topics of particular importance for Orthodox Christianity that have contemporary relevance and require timely Pan-Orthodox resolution;
  2. the disagreements which emerged and were officially declared by the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches against some of the texts already approved for the Council;
  3. the impossibility under the ratified rules of the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church of editing texts that are being discussed during the work of the Council;
  4. the proposed seating arrangements for the Primates of the Orthodox Churches in the hall to be used for meetings of the Council violates the principle of equality of the Primates of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches;
  5. the improper accommodation of the observers and guests of the Council;
  6. the need to undertake large and unjustified expenses in the event of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church of the Bulgarian Patriarchate participating in the Council.

Following the vote, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church unanimously AGREED to:

  1. Demand that the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church of 16-26 June of this year be postponed while the preparation for its convening continues;
  2. Alternatively, the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church of the Bulgarian Patriarchate states emphatically its decision to withdraw from the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church scheduled for 16-26 June 2016.

The Pan-Orthodox Council is a synod of the Primates and representatives of all the universally recognised local Orthodox Churches of the world scheduled to be held from 18 to 26 June on the Greek island of Crete.  The representatives from the following fourteen local Autocephalous Orthodox Churches will take part in the work of the Council: the Church of Constantinople, of Alexandria, of Antioch, of Jerusalem, of Russia, of Georgia, of Serbia, of Romania, of Bulgaria, of Cyprus, of Greece, of Albania, of Poland, of Czech Lands and Slovakia.

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