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Announcement by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece regarding the Dialogues with the Latins

Source:         http://www.romfea.gr/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3285&Itemid=2



The Holy Synod is stating that the synodical system must be respected and the hierarchs must be regularly informed of the events and progress in the dialogue (which was not happening until now). The document in Ravenna and the one to be produced in Cyprus must first pass through the hierarchy of the Churches and can in no way be considered accepted by the Orthodox Church unless that happens. The episcopate is charged with the keeping of the right faith and will do its duty. The Holy Synod gave specific directions to its representatives in Cyprus to communicate the long-held, well-known position of the Orthodox regarding the papacy and primacy. There was only passing reference to the Confession of Faith, as being unnecessary, since the hierarchs are "keeping vigil". They did not answer any calls  made for "punishment" of the signers.



The Hierarchy of the Church of Greece in its afternoon Session, this 15th of October 2009 and during the first part of its Meeting of today, on the proposal by His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Hieronymos, has discussed the matter of the Dialogue between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics.

The session began with the reading of the document by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in regard to the so-called "Confession of Faith" that has been signed by Clergymen, Monks and laypeople - followed by the reading of the letters by the Very Reverend Metropolitans that were addressed to the Holy Synod - for the purpose of informing (the Synod) about the Document that was signed in Ravenna as well as the preliminary draft of the topics that are to be discussed in the forthcoming days in Cyprus, on the subject of the pope's primacy during the first millennium. These topics had already been discussed, in last September's Session of the Perpetual Holy Synod.

Following the reading of the aforementioned documents, His Beatitude invited the Very Reverend Metropolitans: Meletios of Nikopolis and Preveza (Chairman of the Synodic Committee for Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Christian Relations),  Chrysostom of Messinia (representing the Church of Greece in the Dialogue with the Roman Catholics) and Chrysostom of Peristeri (as a connoisseur of these matters), to update the Hierarchy, both on the progress of the aforementioned Dialogue as well as on the content of the Ravenna Document, but also about the Meeting of the Joint Theological Commission that will take place in the forthcoming days in Paphos, Cyprus.

This was followed by a very broad dialogue, in which many Hierarchs participated, who spoke responsibly and knowledgeably on these very important issues. During these discussions, the following positions were determined:

1. The need for a more detailed updating of the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy on these very significant issues was made evident. It was also declared that from now on, the Hierarchy is to be informed of all the phases of the Dialogues, otherwise no "document" will be considered binding to the Church.  After all, this is defined in the Synodic Polity of the Church.

2. The Dialogue must continue, but within the Orthodox ecclesiological and canonical framework, and always following an understanding with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as has been pan-Orthodoxically decided.

3. The Representatives of our Church have, in the specific Dialogue, a sound knowledge of Orthodox Theology, Ecclesiology and Ecclesiastic Tradition and are offering their knowledge and their mettle towards the aim of "the unity of all", "in the truth" and within the necessary theological framework and the decisions of pan-Orthodox Conferences.

4. The Ravenna Document, and the text that is to be discussed in Cyprus are subject to the condition of reporting to and being approved by the local Autocephalous Churches, and subsequently by the Church of Greece, convening Synodically.  In practice this means there will be no finalized actions, without the Synodical approval of the Hierarchy. Hierarchs are the guardians of Orthodox Tradition, according to their confession during their ordination as Bishops.

5. As for the document that pertains to the primacy of the pope of Rome during the first millennium, which is to be drafted in Cyprus in the forthcoming days, the representatives of our Church have received directions to appropriately ensure that in the final text, the canonical place of the primacy of the pope of Rome during the first millennium is recorded, according to the Ecumenical Synods, and in reference to the 3rd Canon of the 2nd Ecumenical Council and the 28th Canon of the 4th Ecumenical Council.  

6. The Hierarchy of the Church of Greece is monitoring and will remain alert to keep monitoring the issue of the dialogues of the Orthodox Church with the Heterodox, which is why the document as a "Confession of Faith" is a redundant item. 

It is further asking the faithful to have trust in their Pastors and abstain from actions that could possibly create further problems.

These have been discussed and decided upon unanimously by the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece, with a sense of responsibility before God, our immaculate Faith and Tradition and our pious people, for the glorification of God and the glory of the Church.

From the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy






Translation:  K. N.

Article published in English on: 16-10-2009.

Last update: 16-10-2009.