Evaluation of the Holy and Great Council in Crete, by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria

The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria Presided over by His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa , following extensive discussion announces the following:

1. We express glory and praise to the Triune God, who deemed us worthy to participate in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church last June. The Council was the seal on a long course of several decades amidst intense Theological consultations, agreements and disagreements. It was the vision of our enlightened and charismatic predecessors who prayed to witness the day of the its convening, but they were not fortunate. We express our deep gratitude to them and pray for the repose of their souls.

2. The Council in Crete was an extremely important event for the course of the Orthodox Church as it gave testimony of unity, testimony of responsibility and anxiety for the contemporary world. It was, is and will remain as a great miracle “of meeting and coexisting for this” of the Orthodox Churches and we believe that this new experience will gradually be decoded and will yield new fruits in the Orthodox world. Blessed are they who will taste of this fruit!

3. It confirmed that conciliarity is the pre-eminent expression of the ecclesiological consciousness of the Orthodox Church and at the same time is a dynamic response to the ardent preachers of introversion, exclusivity, racial prejudice and fundamentalism. We believe that in the near future, at the Synods which God willing will follow, and imperfections and weaknesses of this Synod will be overcome.

4. We wholeheartedly thank His Holiness the President of the Great and Holy Council, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Their Beatitudes the Primates and all who worked tirelessly for the realization of the Council amidst many adversities and challenges.

5. We consider as particularly important the conciliar consolidation of the ecclesiastical dispensation amidst various extremist and conservative positions, as opportunity is given to local churches to exercise their pastoral work in real time and in the particular sites and conditions. However, with regret we found that, despite the prophetic voices which were heard in the Synod and those during the pre-Synodal conferences, timidity and reluctance to understand “deviations” from earlier settings of the life of the Church as accuracy and not as dispensation, although this would have been the true affirmation of the mystery of Christ’s incarnation today, in other words the living and salvific Revelation of God. The differing approaches to issues of life in the Church are not deviations for us from Orthodox truth, but adaptation to African reality.

6. The Church of Africa will continue to participate actively in all the official inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogues, despite whichever difficulties and problems which arise from time to time. Besides our participation in the WCC, we are upgrading our activity in the Pan-African Council of Churches. At every moment we should humbly submit our testimony of the Orthodox Faith, the fullness of the Orthodox revelation which our Church preserves. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we must become instruments of reconciliation and to cultivate the peaceful coexistence of people, respecting and defending their national, racial and religious diversity. Together with the other Churches and Religions we are called on to work towards combating every systemic injustice anything demonic, in whatever form it appears, which nullifies the lives of the critically injured and bleeding in our flock.

7. We feel that as a living and dynamic Church, we are emerging from within a growing and long-suffering world, we have a duty with courage and prophetic vision to formulate within ourselves the conditions for recruitment and the transformation of our world, and to place a proposition of hope, and life throughout it for all people, as well as resurrectional joy. We ask for the fervent prayers of the Body of our Church, clergy and laity, so that with the cooperation of everyone to build on the momentum of the Great Synod and to liberate those powers that will show the Church of Africa to be a prophetic presence, fearing the Lord and always open to the surprising action of the Most Holy Spirit”.


Read also: Conclusions of the Holy Synod regarding the proceedings and the decisions of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church (Crete, 16-26 June 2016)

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