The Patriarch Justinian Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest organized Thursday a seminar entitled Reception of the decisions of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. Professors of Theology presented reports in which they analyzed the official documents adopted by the Council of Crete.
The event marked the first anniversary of the Holy and Great Council that was convened in Crete, 16-26 June 2016. His Grace Varlaam of Ploiesti, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch and member of the Romanian Patriarchate’s delegation to the Holy and Great Council (HGC), attended the Seminar held on June 15.
Rev. Michael Tița, patriarchal adviser, opened the works and read out the message of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel on this occasion.
The Council of Crete affirms explicitly that only the Orthodox Church is the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” and therefore the restoration of unity with other Christians is achieved in the One Church, based on the Orthodox faith, since other Christians “have diverged from the true faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” (art. 21 of the document on the Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World).
In a general evaluation of the proceedings and results of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, it can be noted that the delegation of the Romanian Orthodox Church participated actively in the works and was appreciated by those present at the Council of Crete, read the message of His Beatitude.
The speakers included Dean Rev. Stefan Buchiu, Rev. Viorel Ioniță, Rev. Daniel Benga, Associate Professor Adrian Lemeni, Deacon George Grigoriță, Deacon Ionuț Mavrichi, Prof. Rev. Patriciu Vlaicu.
Fr. Viorel Ioniță made an introduction, presenting the preparation period of the Council, and stressed the fact that all Autocephalous Orthodox Churches have agreed on the convening of the Council.
He noted that the HGC decisions have had a pastoral, missionary character, and said it was not an Ecumenical Council that would have taken dogmatic and canonical decisions.
The Holy and Great Council that took place last year did not invent anything but rather affirmed and stressed the truth of faith of our Church. Its decisions represent guidelines for the entire Orthodox Church in today’s world, he said.
Prof. Adrian Lemeni presented the Message and the Encyclical of the Holy and Great Council. In his speech, he addressed, in particular, three themes that are not found in other documents: Education (IV), the Church in the face of contemporary challenges (V), and the Church in the face of globalization, the phenomenon of extreme violence and migration (VI).
Deacon Ionut Mavrichi presented the first of the six documents on the HGC agenda referring to the Mission of the Orthodox Church in today’s world.
Referring to the document on Orthodox Diaspora, Rev. Patriciu Vlaicu pointed to the opportunity offered by the current context of the Diaspora, which allows Orthodox Christians from different Autocephalous Churches to live together day by day. The document, he said, refers to the Orthodox Diaspora as a reality. He went on noting that the Church understands her double mission based on both acribia and economy.
Fr Patriciu Vlaicu pointed out that the HGC documents represent a first step in the manifestation of conciliarity, including by leaving some documents (themes) for another Great and Holy Council. The documents adopted in Crete express a dynamism and not a definitive solution to the subjects addressed, he concluded.
Speaking about the Autonomy and the way it is proclaimed, Deacon George Grigorita emphasized that in the Orthodox Church there are several ways to recognize the autonomy, saying that the procedures can be developed at future Councils.
The Dean of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest, Prof. Rev. Ștefan Buchiu, presented the document on the Sacrament of Marriage and its impediments, explaining the disputed subject of mixed marriages.
The Importance of Fasting and its Observance Today is the most patristic document, Rev. Daniel Benga noted. During his lecture, he explained the fundaments for applying economy (oikonomia) during the fasting seasons.
In his address, Rev. Viorel Ionita spoke about the Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world. He focused on the fact that the Orthodox Church has had a contact and has carried a dialogue with other Christian confessions throughout the second millennium.
He recalled that Patriarch Justinian Marina, commemorated this year by the Romanian Patriarchate, used to say that the Romanian Orthodox Church was willing to enter into dialogue with other churches, but only on an equal footing.
Rev. Ionita added that contact and dialogue are inevitable, even necessary given the challenges of today’s world.
The Seminar that was organized on 15 June 2017 with the blessing of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel was attended by theology students, clergy, and monastics.
Credit: Lumina Newspaper & Basilica.ro