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Russian Orthodox Church won’t take part in work in Pan-Orthodox Council

Russian Orthodox Church’s representative will not take part in drafting of the message of the Pan-Orthodox Council, which must be ready one week before the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church is convened, a source from the Russian Orthodox Church told Tass on Friday.

“A representative of our Church won’t take part in drawing up the message,” the source said, noting that the work was to be done by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), the Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s External Church Relations Department.

“He must be in Crete these days, but under the circumstances when the churches are one after another refusing to attend in the Pan-Orthodox Council, there isn’t much point for us in taking part in work to draft the message from just several churches,” the source said.

Under the Pan-Orthodox Council regulations, texts or new issues that were not unanimously approved by Pan-Orthodox pre-Council conferences and meetings of the primates cannot be submitted directly for Council discussion with the exception of the Council’s message.

Its draft will be prepared by a special all-Orthodox Commission one week before the Council is convened and will be subject to approval by the primates of the Orthodox churches, the document says.

Over the recent days, Orthodox churches have been one after another refusing to attend the Council.

Problems sprang up in the course of final preparations for the assembly recently, with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church saying its clerics will not attend the Council, since more preparations are needed.

The Georgian Orthodox Church, too, voiced objections against the documents on Christian marriage and the contemporary mission of the Church.

On Tuesday, Syria’s Antiochian Orthodox Church said it was unprepared to attend the Holy and Great Council. The Serbian Orthodox Church declared its refusal to attend on Thursday.

Should at least one of the 14 churches be absent from the Council, it will lose the Pan-Orthodox status. The Russian Orthodox Church proposed convening an urgent pan-Orthodox consultative conference before June 10 ahead of the Holy and Great Council. The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on June 6 made a decision to proceed with routine preparations for the Council, due in Crete on June 17-26.