His Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, addressed a message to all the members of the Orthodox Church referring to the Holy and Great Council, which will convene during 16-27 June 2016 in Crete. His Holiness fervently asks all faithful, clergy and laity, men and women, young and old, to pray for this important event of Orthodoxy. We quote below the message of the Ecumenical Patriarch:
With the grace of God, Who has instituted and inspired the Church through the ages, Who has guided and enlightened the Fathers of the Church through Local and Ecumenical Councils, we will convene the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in Crete, this June.
All of the Primates of the fourteen Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, together with delegations of hierarchs and advisers, will assemble in order to demonstrate and declare the unity of the Body of Christ, as well as to pronounce and proclaim a message of hope and love to a world that longs for the joy and life of the Gospel of Christ.
The foremost goal of this Pan-Orthodox Council is to profess that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church united in the Holy Sacraments, the Sacred Canons and the Ecumenical Councils.
We recognize that the world expects a vibrant voice on many pressing challenges, but we considered it necessary also to address some pastoral issues within our Church.
The fact that Orthodoxy will express its conciliarity on a global level after so many centuries constitutes a very decisive step.
We fervently ask the plenitude of the church, clergy and laity, men and women, old and young, to pray for this unique and historical event. We especially ask that you implore God to strengthen and inspire the leaders of the Church to manifest their unity in a world afflicted by conflict and division.
May God bless the Holy and Great Council, and may His abundant grace be with all of you!