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Participants in pan-Orthodox Council suggest it be held regularly

June 26, 2016, 17:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW

If the Council is held regularly, its status may ultimately be raised to All-Orthodox and hence its decision will be binding on all

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© Valeriy Matytsin / TASS , arkhiv

MOSCOW, June 26. /TASS/. Participants in the Crete pan-Orthodox Council involving ten out of 14 national Orthodox Churches have come up with an initiative to convene it on a regular basis.

"During the deliberations of the Holy and Great Council the importance of the Synaxes of the Primates which had taken place was emphasized and the proposal was made for the Holy and Great Council to become a regular Institution to be convened every seven or ten years," the Council said in a message posted on its official website on Sunday.

If the Council is held regularly, its status may ultimately be raised to All-Orthodox and hence its decision will be binding on all. 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 current Council, preparations for which took a whole 55 years, was held on the Greek Island of Crete on June 20-26. The participating Primates of the ten local Churches and the clerics accompanying them represented the smaller part of the Orthodox Christian world.

The Bulgarian, Antioch (Syrian), Georgian, and Russian Churches refused to attend the Council on the conditions put forward by the organizing party, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The supreme gathering of the Orthodox Churches, initially designed as a Holy and Great All-Orthodox Council, adopted five guideline documents drafted in advance. The voting was held along the ‘one Church - one vote’ formula.

The status of these documents for the Churches absent from the Council remains debatable. The Russian Church said it will wait for the decisions of the Council and will decide on their status upon thorough scrutiny.

Differences over procedural issues produced a situation where the Churches began to withhold their participation a mere several weeks before the opening of the Council.

One of the problems came from the prohibition on making any major amendments to the documents right during the sessions.

Many Churches sent their remarks to the Ecumenical Patriarchate after familiarization with the texts but it turned down all the proposals on changes.

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