His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has announced that the minutes of the Holy and Great Council held on the island of Crete in the summer of 2016 will soon be published.
The news came in the form of a message delivered to the 8th International Conference of Orthodox Theology on the theme, “The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church: Orthodox Theology in the 21st century,” organized in Thessaloniki.
The minutes will include the discussions and decisions made during the Council.
The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church convened in June 2016 in the island of Crete after almost 50 years of preparation and gathered 10 out of the 14 Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.
The Synod discussed and released documents on six topics: The Importance of Fasting and Its Observance Today, Autonomy and the Means by Which it is Proclaimed, The Orthodox Diaspora, The Sacrament of Marriage and its Impediments, The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World, and Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World.
The Council’s Minutes will be soon published
“The imminent publication of the Minutes of the Holy and Great Council will provide all interested persons with an opportunity to become familiar with and appreciate the common concern of the ten participating Orthodox Autocephalous Churches for the realization and fulfillment of the conciliar effort in accordance with God’s will, as well as for a deeper theological conversation and the absolute respect regarding the canonical tradition of the Church,” the patriarch’s message reads.
In his message, Patriarch Bartholomew referred to the tensions, challenges, and problems that the local Orthodox Churches have experienced over time, but which have been overcome through the convening of the Holy and Great Council.
‘The Council’s aim was to proclaim Orthodox unity, address ongoing internal matters and offer a good witness to the contemporary world on the restoration of all things in Christ,’ His Holiness added.
The Orthodox Church’s openness to history
‘The Holy and Great Council was not an introverted gathering but instead highlighted the openness of the Orthodox Church toward history, its love for humankind and the eternal relevance of the Gospel of love.’
In his address, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople reiterated that the Council of Crete represents ‘an important chapter in the conciliar history of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, as well as a central event in the contemporary story of Orthodoxy.’
‘Through this Council, the Orthodox Church created history,’ Patriarch Bartholomew stressed.
A treasure of great price
He also referred to the Council’s documents saying that they ‘stand out for their theological integrity, authentically expressing the Orthodox tradition and self-consciousness, as well as its sensitivity and concern for humanity’s existential problems, and for the contemporary social and cultural challenges.’
‘These conciliar texts are a precious spiritual treasure for Orthodox faithful and an invaluable legacy for generations to come.’
Orthodoxy is not a closed spirituality
His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew said that the works and decisions of the Council of Crete represent a proof that Orthodoxy is not a closed spirituality, indifferent to history and culture.
The message concludes with the presentation of the Council’s documents as ‘a source of inspiration for the Orthodox faithful, who strive in their daily lives to reconcile their fidelity to tradition with their contemporary situation.’
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