Monday, February 28, 2011
Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission Completes Its Work
Representatives of the fourteen Autocephalous Orthodox Churches took part in the meeting chaired by Metropolitan John of Pergamon, Patriarchate of Constantinople. The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church, led by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), included archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia); archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR deputy chairman; and interpreter Anatoly Churiakov.
The Commission, which task was to elaborate questions for the agenda of the Pan-Orthodox Council, continued to consider the issue of signing the Tomos of autocephaly. As a long discussion has not led to the unanimous decision, the necessity of further studying of the issue of autocephaly was recognized.
The Commission discussed the issue of diptychs, considered canonical and ecclesiological aspects, described the current practice of the Orthodox Churches and the criteria of including the Churches into diptychs and the order of the Primates’ names in them and also noted the necessity of compiling the uniform diptychs of the Orthodox Church.
Also considered was a wish of the Polish and Albanian Orthodox Churches to reach uniformity in regard of the place of their Primates in diptychs of the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches. The Commission suggested to take these requests into account and to consider proper changes in diptychs.
The requests of the Georgian Orthodox Church concerning its sixth place in diptychs and of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus concerning a higher place of its Primate in holy diptychs were presented at the meeting. Consent has not been reached either on this issue, or on the differences in holy diptychs of some Churches due to the lack of Pan-Orthodox agreement on the number of the recognized autocephalous Churches.
Under Art. 16 of the Rules of the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Conciliar Conferences, documents on all issues on the agenda shall be approved unanimously".