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BELGRADE, June 9. /TASS/. The Serbian Orthodox Church has come out with a proposal for postponing the Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete, as follows from a statement by Patriarch Irinej, of Serbia.
"We are experiencing problems with participation in the convened Council and suggest postponing it for some time," Patriarch Irinej said in a message to Patriarch Bartholomew, of Constantinople. The Serbian Orthodox Church suggests regarding the forthcoming meeting in Crete as not a Council, but as a pre-Council inter-Orthodox conference called for the purpose of extra preparations or as the first step towards convening a Council.
Patriarch Irinej says this process is to be completed after disagreements have been eliminated and consensus and uniformity have been achieved. He explained that one of the reasons for his proposal was disagreement and criticism expressed by some Serbian Orthodox Church clerics over the texts drafted ahead of the Council. Also, he pointed to the "irreversible decision of the patriarchates of Antioch and Bulgaria to refrain from participation in the Council, to problems in communication among the churches and to the strained relationship between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Romanian Patriarchate. Constantinople’s refusal to include in the agenda of the Council at least one proposal made by the Serbian Orthodox Church is mentioned as one of the controversies, too.
The Russian Orthodox Church has suggested holding an urgent pan-Orthodox consultative conference by June 10. The Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate on June 6 decided to go ahead with routine preparations for the Pan-Orthodox Council.