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Russian Orthodox Church offers ‘soft way out of crisis’ over Pan-Orthodox Council

June 13, 23:27 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian Orthodox Church hopes "things will resume their natural course and the Council will be postponed to a later date, as follows from the Holy Synod decision"
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MOSCOW, June 13. /TASS/. The Russian Orthodox Church offers a "soft way out of the crisis" the has emerged during the preparations for a Pan-Orthodox Council, Vakhtang Kipshidze, a deputy chairman of the Synodal Department for Relations between the Church and Society and Mass Media, told TASS on Monday.

"I think the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has intentionally worded its position is a way implying a possibility of the softest way out of the crisis linked with the preparations for the All-Orthodox Council," he said. "The Holy Synod’s decision is worded in a way leaving our brothers in dialogue on the preparations for the Pan-Orthodox Council a possibility to settle this situation in a routine track of intra-Orthodox communication."

The Russian Orthodox Church hopes "things will resume their natural course and the Council will be postponed to a later date, as follows from the Holy Synod decision," he added.

After an emergency meeting of the Holy Synod on Monday, the Russian Orthodox Church said it will not take part in the Pan-Orthodox Council, due to convene on the Isle of Crete in less than a week, in case any of the 14 national churches stay away from it.

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 were needed. The Bulgarian clerics’ decision to abstain from the conference was followed by announcements on staying away on the part of other Churches - the Church of Antioch (Syria), the Serbian Church and, in the latest move, the Georgian Church. Should at least one of the 14 churches be absent from the Council, it will lose the Pan-Orthodox status and its decisions will not be binding on those absent. 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.

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