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MOSCOW, June 25. /TASS/. Attending the Pan-Orthodox Council that is about to round up on the Isle of Crete are 156 bishops from the ten participating local (national) Churches, not 290 as announced earlier at a news briefing by Archbishop Job, the press secretary of the Council.
The correction to the data was published at the official homepage of the Council.
The explanation for the difference in the figures comes from the fact that each of the ten participating Churches was entitled to delegating 25 bishops to Crete but the Polish, Czech and Cyprian Churches did not have as many hierarchs to put on their delegations.
The Council, preparations for which took a whole 55 years, opened on June 20 and will close on June 26. The participating Primates of the ten local Churches and the clerics accompanying them represent 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 destined to be 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.