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The Greek press agency Romfea published a detailed input related to the project of documents of the upcoming Great Pan-orthodox Synod, entitled: “The relations of the Orthodox Churches with the rest of the Christian world”. The comment in question comes this time from a clergy member of the Saint Nicholas Church from Patras, theologian and priest Anastasios Gkotsopulous. We deal with an ample comment where the author tries to offer an objective evaluation of the adopted documents from the 5th Pan-orthodox Pre-synodal Session (Synaxis) and introduced in the agenda of the upcoming Holy Great Pan-orthodox Synod from June 2016 (see archives of Lăcaşuri Ortodoxe®) informs in premiere Lăcaşuri Ortodoxe® News Agency.
The comment points out that “each Holy Council so far of the Orthodox Church, starting with the Apostolic to the Ecumenical and local ones, were above all focused on proclaiming the Truth in Christ and in the same time on condemning the heresies and schisms in the Body of Christ. The synodal texts were always distinguished by their particular precision on detail, regarding the experience of the Church in Holy Spirit…”
Regarding the document project of the 5th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Synodal Synaxis, entitled “The relations of the Orthodox Churches with the rest of the Christian world” it proved to be impossible to identify those specific characteristics. The rest entitled “The relations of the Orthodox Churches with the rest of Christian world” was formulated during the 5th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Synodal Synaxis (see archives of Lăcaşuri Ortodoxe® from 2015) when it was decided to combine the texts “The relations of the Orthodox Churches with the rest of Christian world” with the “Orthodox Church and ecumenical movement” adopted during the 3rd Pan-Orthodox Pre-synodal Synaxis (from 1986).
According to Fr Anastasios’ opinion, the main directives of the text adopted in 2015 are fundamentally the same with the directives and proposals of the 3rd Pan-Orthodox Pre-synodal Synaxis. There is though an important difference in the document project “The relations of the Orthodox Churches with the rest of Christian world”, namely that this does not include any analytical or critical evaluation of any from the bilateral theological dialogues with Christian communities, mentioned in the text of the 3rd Pan-Orthodox Pre-synodal Synaxis. Eventually, these dialogues both official and unofficial took altogether between 35 and 50 years, or even more.
In his comment, the priest observes the concealment of these theological debates that did not lead to a positive fruition although the dogmatic texts adopted as a result of these theological dialogues should have been objectively evaluated for the Holy Great Pan-Orthodox Synod.
“Is it that the Synod is not interested anymore in the results of the dialogues or in whether they are in a successful progress? Or maybe some are afraid that, if the Holy Great Pan-Orthodox Synod takes over the discussions related to the progress of the bilateral theological dialogues – that any Primate of the Local Orthodox Churches knows better but has no sufficient courage to expose them – will it be obvious then that all the dialogues are at a dead end?” – wonders the author of the commentary.
“Most dialogues failed actually, but our ecclesiastic leaders did not inform us about that. Why? Because, obviously confessing openly and publically the failure of dialogues would mean a renouncement to the ecumenical movement!”
Later, the author goes from a general analysis of the text to a more detailed aspect of the text. According to his opinion, the first four articles of the text deserve only positive commentaries, especially those which proclaim flatly the dogma that the Orthodox Church is “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic”.
But later, are presented more ambiguities, questionable wordings and theological contradiction, writes Fr Anastasios, in fully agreement with those who have already taken action against this document project: Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, Metropolitan Simeon of Noua Smirna, Bulgarian clergy, Hieromonk Dimitrie from Zografou Monastery, Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus and Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos (see archives of Lăcaşuri Ortodoxe®).
“Referring, in addition to the previous commenters, to the intention of inviting “observers” to the upcoming Holy Great Pan-Orthodox Council, Fr Anastasios fears that “the presence of heretics as observers will lead to serious, catastrophic consequences: will cause dissensions between the believers and instead of contributing to the unity of our Church, will compromise it by giving serious reasons for creating and consolidating schisms!”