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Patriarch Kirill: Our Church has made a special contribution to the preparations of items on the agenda of Universal Orthodoxy

Patriarch Kirill: Our Church has made a special contribution to the preparations of items on the agenda of Universal Orthodoxy
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21 May 2016 year 17:43

Addressing the solemn meeting held on May 19, 2016, in Moscow on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Department for External Church Relations, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia spoke about the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the preparations for the Pan-Orthodox Council.

“The Moscow Patriarchate delegations in many cases headed by the DECR chairmen have participated in all the pre-Council activities, beginning from the 1st Pan-Orthodox Conference which took place in 1961 on Rhodes Island. In doing so, the Russian Church has not been a passive observer of the pre-Council process, but from the very beginning has made a considerable contribution to the preparation of the Council. Thus, the Moscow Patriarchate – the only one among the Local Orthodox Churches – prepared in due time the draft documents on each of the themes on the Council’s agenda, which were over a hundred at the initial stage”, His Holiness stated.

“When we are told that it was impossible to hold a Council earlier because of the Church’s situation in the Soviet Union, it is untrue because the Church in the Soviet Union was the only one among all the Local Orthodox Churches to develop final documents on over one hundred topics which were put initially in the Council’s catalogue”, he continued. “Later, when someone of our brothers abroad, who did not belong to the Russian Church, raised the question about the need to reduce the one hundred topics to ten, we certainly disagreed. But did it because none of the Churches developed a single topic while we had a ready file.

“Therefore, our Church has made a special contribution to the preparation of the items which really stand on the agenda of Universal Orthodoxy…”

Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church took an active part in the subsequent meetings of the inter-Orthodox preparatory commissions as well and in the work of the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conferences. According to His Holiness, in the last two years “the main efforts of the Local Churches were focused in the pre-Council process on the editing and reviewing the Council’s draft documents which had already became out of date for the decades of preparations for Council, which protracted through no fault of ours”.

“The Russian Orthodox Church, despite all the difficulties, has managed to introduce many fundamental thoughts and ideas into the Council’s documents, which in our view had become out of date because they had been drafted over ten year ago. We have managed to introduce a whole number of important amendments to these documents and we hope that the introduction of these amendments will help us work more effectively at the Council on the final versions of these documents.

“We have managed to do perhaps the most important thing – to overcome what we believe to be the wrong position of several Orthodox Church which insisted on the need to impose an embargo on the publication of draft documents before the beginning of the Council. We could not understand why it should be done. Each document adopted today in the Russian Orthodox Church by council is drafted by the Inter-Council Presence, a large body consisting of over one hundred members including hierarchs, priests and lay people, men and women. It is really a conciliar body. Most of the documents adopted by our Church in Council are prepared by this body. Then a draft is published in the Internet and thousands of various amendments are collected. Then, after an appropriate editing, it is presented to the Council, which also amends it, and so on. Using these instruments and working in this way with our own flock, we could not understand why a Pan-Orthodox Council should close all the draft documents before the discussion begins. We have managed to overcome this situation; the documents were publish and the discussion began. We are very glad that it has begun. We hope very much that this pre-Council public discussion will entail a considerable improvement of the draft documents, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in conclusion.

Patriarchal Press Service

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