Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Times on the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church

Many things have been written, before, during and after the Orthodox Churches met in Crete for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. One of the latest additions to this immense bibliography is also an article written by Michael Binyon in the Times, entitled: ‘Orthodox Church falters in 1,000 year quest for unity’ (16th July 2016, p.84). Although understanding the Synod from a Western point of view, he does give a number of interesting points on what happened, and of course how some Orthodox Churches wished to boycott this Council, especially referring to the Church of Russia.

The author of this article does point out the fact that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has ‘done much to promote Orthodox unity;’ however, he does identify the difficulties of this objective. Mr Michael Binyon makes some interesting points, explaining that: ‘The Russians were suspicious of the summit, believing it would highlight divisions and introduce “western” notions of liberalism, human rights and social engagement. The Moscow patriarchate has never had good relations with the ecumenical patriarch . . .’

To conclude, this interesting article is critical towards the reality of inter-Orthodox relations. However, this is, unfortunately, the reality. The Orthodox, through this Council, wished to show their unity. In many ways they did. But they also showed their disunity and how power politics dictate their ecclesiastical relations between not only the rest of the Christian world, but also within the Orthodox world. 
For more information on the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church see: https://www.holycouncil.org/

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