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Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos and Orinis on the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church

Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos and Orinis on the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church
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15 June 2016 year 15:02

In humility value others above yourselves (Phil. 2:3)

Very few days have remained till the moment when we are to set foot on the sacred land of Crete. The Holy and Great Pan-Orthodox Council is a centuries-old aspiration; the need for it has been felt for centuries. That is why both the clergy and the Orthodox people full of joy were so eagerly looking forward to its convocation.

Unfortunately however, the Great Council had hardy begun when clouds began to thicken over it.

Of course, it is no doubt that there were preliminary meetings between Primates of Holy Local Orthodox Churches or their representative as well as long and detailed coordination on the issues to be considered, and joint decisions were worked out beforehand.

Being taught and prepared by the whole history of the Church, we were ready to see difficulties and problems in the process of the Council’s work. It also shows how Orthodox Christians act in such situations: they rally as forefathers did, following the behest of St. Paul: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Eph. 4:2-3).

Regrettably, we see and read comments by proponents and opponents of the convocation of the Council on the pages of Orthodox sites and Internet editions in various countries.

We all should clearly realize the no insults or invectives towards Churches standing for or against the postponement of the Council will help achieve unity we so much speak about and we so much seek.

We would like to point out that the unity we seek is not the unity of faith since, thank God, it exists indeed. It is rather the unity in understanding and settling administrative and pastoral problems in the life of Local Orthodox Church.

Accusations and high-flown offensive statements labelling Churches, instead of removing differences, only aggravate further the situation and exacerbate the contradictions.

Instead of co-work, unanimity and one’s humble respect for the other as being above oneself, we, quite the contrary, act to the detriment of ourselves, out of selfish ambition or vain conceit (Phil. 2:3).

Therefore, without jeopardizing the most important thing, that is, our mutual liturgical communion, we should calmly and resolutely, and the most importantly, with prayer and trust in the power of the All-Holy Spirit, harken to the words of concern expressed by our brothers in Christ and, in the spirit of understanding and respect for the problems and difficulties faced by Local Churches, seek ways of unity.

Otherwise, we all are to be blamed for a possible division from which the body of the Church suffering as it is from heresies and divisions will suffer even more. Eventually, it is not Christ Who will suffer a loss but rather we ourselves will, putting at risk the salvation of our own souls.

It is out of great distress and anguish of heart (2 Cor. 2:4) that I write all this but also because what is going on shakes the foundations of the Church and because I tremble at a single thought of a possible rupture, which will inflict an irreparable damage on the mutual relations of Orthodox Churches.

May God enlighten our minds and hearts so that the forthcoming Holy and Great Council may be held in a spirit of unity and love, to the glory of the Holy Consubstantial and Life-giving Trinity!

Version: Russian, Greek