Antioch Withdraws from Synaxis after Jerusalem Refuses Mediation

Natalya Mihailova | 08 March 2014

THIS IS AN UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION from Notes on Arab Orthodoxy. Arabic original can be found here.

Statement issued by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
March 8, 2014
With great joy and a clear commitment to ensuring the success of its activities, a delegation from the Patriarchate of Antioch, made up of Their Eminences Metropolitans Saba (Esber) and Siluan (Moussi) and Father Porphyrios (Giorgi), participated in the Synaxis of the heads of the Orthodox churches which was held at the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and in its preparatory activities. At the Synaxis, the Antiochian delegation raised the issue of the ongoing disagreement between the Patriarchate of Antioch and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. They attempted, under the direct guidance from His Beatitude Patriarch John X, who was absent from the Synaxis for health reasons, and in coordination with His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch to work to resolve this disagreement in accordance with the decisions that were agreed upon at the meeting held in Athens in the presence of representatives from the Churches of Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem.
Whereas all efforts made by His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Antiochian delegation with His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem met with failure,
And whereas the Church of Jerusalem continues to insist on establishing a diocese and elevating a bishop over it within the canonical boundaries of the Patriarchate of Antioch,
And whereas the Patriarchate of Jerusalem refuses any solution to this crisis that does not consecrate the status quo, despite the admission of the majority of Orthodox Churches of the rectitude of Antioch’s position,
And whereas the Patriarchate of Antioch has exhausted all irenic solutions and delayed the decision of her Holy Synod to cut off communion with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in order to provide every opportunity for the success of the Synaxis of the heads of the Orthodox Churches in the hope that there will be a solution to this crisis in the spirit of brotherhood and peace during this gathering,
In the face of the Patriarch of Jerusalem’s refusal of the mediation of the Ecumenical Patriarch in solving this crisis in accordance with the tradition and canons of the Church,
The Patriarchate of Antioch has decided:
1- To withdraw her delegation from the Synaxis of the heads of the churches that is being held in Constantinople from the fifth to the eighth of March, 2014 and to withhold from signing its final statement until there is a solution to the crisis.
2- She will not participate in the service of the closing Divine Liturgy that will be held on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, in order to express that Orthodox unity cannot be realized in the shadow of one church assaulting the boundaries of a sister church and denying the agreement that took place with the best guidance and love from His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch.
3- The issue will be taken up once more at the session of the Holy Synod of Antioch on March 27, 2014, in order for it to take the steps that it deems appropriate given the new situation.
In closing, the Church of Antioch can do nothing but urge the heads of the sister Orthodox churches to work to solve this disagreement in accordance with the decrees of the Church’s canons and in the fastest time possible, in order to avoid this issue causing the obstruction of Orthodox unity.
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