MOSCOW, June 8. /TASS/. The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is attentively studying the situation in connection with preparation of the Pan-Orthodox Council due to be held June 17-26 on the Greek island of Crete, a senior church official said Wednesday.
"We are currently attentively studying the reaction to the latest decision by Fener: the reaction of other Churches and our believers," Chairman of the ROC Synod’s department for relations of the church with society and media Vladimir Legoyda told TASS in an interview.
"The Church of Antioch decided not to go to the Council after a statement by the Constantinople Synod. The Georgian Church has an intention to discuss problems of preparation of the Council at its Synod," Legoyda said.
The Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch on Tuesday announced that it would refuse to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council, on the offered terms. Earlier, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church refused to take part in the Council. The reasons were discontent with documents suggested for adoption and the Council’s regulations.
The refusal to take part in the Council by at least one of the 14 churches deprives it of the status of Pan-Orthodox. The Russian Orthodox Church in that connection suggested holding by June 10 an extraordinary Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference. The Synod of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople decided on June 6 to prepare for the Council in the normal mode.
The Pan-Orthodox Council is convened by the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. Constantinople (now Istanbul) is the traditional place of Councils, but due to a complicated geopolitical situation in the world, the Greek island of Crete was chosen this time.
Legoyda also said Wednesday that "many believers of our Church (ROC) expressed words of regret that Fener actually ignored the importance of the principle of pan-Orthodox consent, collegiality, which rules out adoption of individual decisions."
He said the events of the recent days show that local Orthodox Churches have questions regarding the conditions and circumstances of holding the Pan-Orthodox Council.
"We became witnesses to the decisions that were made by the Bulgarian, and then Antioch, Churches, who refused to take part in the Council," Legoyda said. "This may probably be called a crisis of preparation of a pan-Orthodox event, because without total participation the Council loses its significance."
"With account for all circumstances, which, as you see, change each day, the decision to convene the Synod has not been made as of now," he said.
Legoyda said that "in relations between Orthodox churches, in line with established practice, it is not accepted to speak with public complaints, the relations are of a confidential nature."
"But it may be supposed that a critical mass of unresolved contradictions has formed, which would be wrong to endlessly postpone until better days. The talk is about responsibility not for ourselves but for our flock, care about whom underlies the actions of any bishop," he said.