Headed by His Holiness Irinej, the Serbian Patriarch, the delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church arrived to Crete today, on 16 June 2016, where the session of the Holy and Great Council is to be held during the forthcoming days. His Holiness is accompanied by Their Eminences and Their Graces hierarchs: Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, Metropolitan Dr. Porfirije of Zagreb-Ljubljana, Bishop Dr. Irinej of Backa, Bishop Dr. Ignjatije of Branicevo, Bishop Lukijan of Budim and Bishop Jeronim of Jegar.
Along with the Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church, hierarchs, professors and students arrived in Chania, as part of the Serbian Church delegation.
THE HOLY SYNOD OF BISHOPS OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
Syn. No. 840
15th June 2016
C O M M U N I Q U E
In brotherly love, while with responsibility and hopes preparing for the participation in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, which, God willing, is to be held at the Orthodox Academy at Crete around the Pentecost, from 17 until 26 June 2016, the Holy Synod of Bishops in its broader composition at its session held at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade, on June 15, 2016, regarding the situation created after the ordinary convocation of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, passes the following decision:
First of all, having in mind the importance and significance of the Council, our Church wants, in a spirit of ecclesial upbuilding, to contribute in the way that also this Holy and Great Council fulfills criteria and the measure of true Councils in the history of the Orthodox Church and justifies its title.
On the other hand, our Church requests that problems and matters not only of the Serbian Orthodox Church, but also of the other most Holy Churches that cancelled their participation in the Council, be considered at that Council.
With this aim in mind, the Holy and Great Council should last as long as these questions have not been considered, and it cannot be a hostage of in advance layed out and accepted rules. Exclusively with the full consensus the Council can be considered as Holy and Great Council.
At last, our Church insists that the gathering on the island of Crete be a beginning of a Conciliar process, that the matters in question should be solved during its working process, but in the spirit of synodic tradition of the Church of Christ.
In case that the Churches present at the Council, with the Ecumenical Patriarchate at head, persist in the position that the absent Churches without a real reason boycott the work of the Council, and in case that the already present Churches reject to take into consideration all the matters in question, problems and disagreements, the representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the Council will be, regretfully, forced to leave the sessions of that Council and in that way join the Churches that are already absent.
This is by no means a threat or ransom, but a consequent implementation of the position and decisions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church held in May 2016.
In the spirit of our ecclesial and pastoral responsibility, we present these positions hoping in the illuminating action of the All-Holy Spirit.
Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade - Karlovci
and Serbian Patriarch
President of the Holy Assembly of Bishops
sign. I R I N E J
On the situation caused by the refusal of several Local Orthodox Churches to participate in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church
For many decades the Russian Orthodox Church took and continues to take an active part in the preparation of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. Since the First Pan-Orthodox Conference in 1961 on Rhodes, the outstanding hierarchs and the best theologians of our Church have made their contribution to the work on a great number of the Council’s topics, including those which were not to be included later in the agenda of the Holy and Great Council. For the sake of the earliest convocation of the Council, the Russian Orthodox Church has repeatedly re-affirmed her readiness to accept decisions mutually acceptable for all the participants in the pre-Council process, even if such decisions diverted from the already agreed rules of the Council’s preparation.
1. Message of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church concerning the convocation of the Holy and Great Council to be held on Crete on the occasion of the feast-day of the Holy Trinity, from 17th to the 27th of June 2016.
The Holy Assembly of Bishops of
the Serbian Orthodox Church
№ 62/min. 164
25. Мay 2016
МESSAGE OF THE HOLY ASSEMBLY OF BISHOPS
OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
to Primates and Holy Synods of the Local Orthodox Churches
In the days of the most joyful Christian Feast, which fills every human being and all of creation with catholic meaning and good tidings of salvation in Christ, we welcome the summoning of autocephalous Orthodox Churches to the Holy and Great Synod which, if God allows it, will be held at the Orthodox Academy in Crete, on Pentecost, from 17 to 26 June 2016.
In brotherly love, with responsibility and great hopes, we reflect on this Holy and Great Synod during the session of our Local Church’s Assembly, and remind ourselves as well as others that the Orthodox Church is a Synod (Council), called by God in Christ and inspired by His Holy Spirit, as was the Synod of Holy Apostles, which took the following words as its guiding hand: “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15, 28). We rejoice at the prospect of commencement of the Holy and Great Synod on the Feast of descent of the Holy Spirit. For, it is and should be a pneumatic, Pentecostal event of communion (κοινωνία) of Churches. Assembled in order to “accordantly celebrate the All-Holy Spirit”, we believe that where the Church abides, there the Holy Spirit abides as well; and, where the Spirit of God abides, there abide the Church and all grace, and the Spirit is truth” (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 3, 2, 4, 1).
When the day of the Jewish Pentecost drew near, the disciples of Christ returned from Galilee to Jerusalem.
On the fortieth day after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they were all together in one house. Jesus Christ appeared to them and spoke with them saying, "Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. He, who believes and is baptized, will be saved, but he, who does not believe, will be condemned. And these signs accompanies those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
On Sunday, 5 June 2016, when we listen to the Gospel’s story of the Blind Man, with the blessing of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej, Metropolitan of the Ecumenical Patriarchate His Eminence Arsenios (Kardamakis) from Vienna, President of the Council of Bishops’ Conference for Austria and Director for Orthodox Religious Education in Austria, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Belgrade Cathedral of Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel.
He was concelebrated by Protopresbyter-stavrophor Dr. Dragomir Sando, Very Revd. Fathers Panayotis Karatasios and Dimitris Kasapis, Presbyter Vladimir Vranic, chief of the Office of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch, as well as by Protodeacon Radomir Percevic.