Sunday, January 31, 2016
THE EASTERN ORTHODOX ARE ABOUT TO HAVE THEIR FIRST COUNCIL IN 1000 YEARS! THIS NEW COUNCIL IS SURE TO BE AN UPDATING COUNCIL AND THUS WILL BE EASTERN ORTHODOXY'S SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL! I WONDER WHAT THEIR LITURGY WILL LOOK LIKE AFTER THIS HISTORIC EVENT?
Recently I had a conversation with a Greek Orthodox parishioner in town who told me that the Greek Orthodox Church is experiencing many of the negative things that Catholics experienced in the Liturgy about 40 years ago. I found that comment interesting. I wonder what this new Council in more than 1000 years will do for the Orthodox. I suspect it will update that Church which is badly in need of updating. Perhaps they will embrace the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption and pave the way to full communion with the Church which they broke in 1024? Or perhaps they will update their Liturgy stuck in the year 1000 AD? Who knows. I hope they embrace inculturation and simplicity of liturgy and vesture. But who knows? I wonder what noble simplicity would mean for the Divine Liturgy??????
This in fact is a Greek Orthodox Church with the altar not hidden behind the iconostasis and allows for the Divine Liturgy to be celebrated facing the congregation. Cool, no? I am sure this will spread like wildfire in the Orthodox Churches as soon as their new Council is over if not before!
This is from the Italian blogger, Sandro Magister at his Chiesa blog:
The pan-Orthodox council will take place. The heads of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches have finally decided on it, at a recent meeting in Chambésy, Switzerland, on Lake Geneva (see photo), to overcome the last obstacles to the celebration of this event, not convened for more than a thousand years.
It will be held from June 16-27 of this year on the island of Crete, a few miles from the coastal city of Chania, in the accommodations of the modern and welcoming Orthodox Academy built in the 1960’s with the spiritual patronage of the patriarchate of Constantinople and with money from the Evangelical Church of Germany:
> Orthodox Academy of Crete
On Sunday, June 19, the feast of Pentecost on the Eastern calendar, the liturgy will be celebrated in Heraklion at the cathedral of Saint Minas.
Previously, the setting anticipated for the council was the cathedral of Constantinople, the church of Saint Irene in Istanbul, but the crisis that erupted between Moscow and Ankara after the downing of the Russian jet on the border with Syria forced a change of venue.
And the patriarchate of Moscow willingly accepted the move to Crete. The rivalry between the powerful Russian Church, which encompasses two thirds of the world’s Orthodox population, and the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople, which numbers less than three thousand faithful in Istanbul but boasts a primacy of honor over all of Orthodoxy, has in fact been for years one of the most serious conflicts within the Christian East, with important repercussions for relations with the Church of Rome:
> The Russian Veto Against Francis and Bartholomew (8.1.2014)
This is one of the reasons behind the great importance of the speeches given in Chambésy on January 22 by the religious leaders of the “Second Rome” and of the “Third Rome,” delivered in Greek and Russian respectively but conveniently made available in English.
That of the patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew:
> Keynote Address by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew…
And that of the patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’, Kirill:
> Patriarch Kirill Addresses the Sinaxis…
The first of the two speeches is especially helpful in reconstructing the genesis and agenda of the upcoming assembly.
But it is also important to read the final account of the assembly, published in English by the patriarchate of Moscow:
> Synaxis of Primates of Local Orthodox Church completes its work in Geneva
in Chambésy an agreement “in extremis” was reached on the procedural rules of the next pan-Orthodox council, without which it could not have gone forward. The rules have been condensed into sixteen articles and concern the convocation of the council, its structure, the powers of the presidency and secretariat, the organization of the work, the approval of texts, the presence of observers of the non-Orthodox Churches.
The text of the rules is available in English on the website of the patriarchate of Moscow:
> Organization and Working Procedure…
It must be noted, however, that the patriarchate of Antioch has not signed on to the rules endorsed by all the other delegates, in practice holding in reserve the threat of withdrawing from the council and therefore invalidating it without the prior resolution of its dispute with the patriarchate of Jerusalem over its appointment of a metropolitan in Qatar, an appointment judged as illegitimate by Antioch.
But as for the matters to be discussed in the council, a full agreement has been reached on four of the eight preparatory documents.
The documents approved concern:
- the autonomy of the Churches and the manner of proclaiming it;
- the importance of fasting and its observance today;
- relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world;
- the mission of the Orthodox Church in the contemporary world in terms of peace, freedom, and fraternity among peoples.
(With regard to this last point, in Chambésy the patriarchate of Moscow secured the approval of the other Orthodox Churches for its conduct in the crisis in Ukraine).
A fifth document has been approved by everyone except for the patriarchate of Antioch. And it concerns “the sacrament of marriage and its impediments.”
The texts of these five documents are also available in French on the website of the patriarchate of Moscow:
The texts not approved instead concern:
- the autocephaly of the national Churches and a process for implementing it;
- the “diptychs,” meaning the hierarchical organization among the Churches and its recognition in liturgical celebrations;
- the establishment of a common calendar among the Orthodox Churches and prospectively among all the Christian Churches, in particular on the date of Easter.
This last point is one that Moscow patriarch Kirill has said he is particularly opposed to discussing.
The duration of the pan-Orthodox council will be brief, just twelve days. But broad-based interest has emerged in holding more of them, at intervals of five or ten years.
Invitations will be issued - but only for the opening and closing sessions - to representatives of other Christian Churches, following the example of the non-Catholic observers at Vatican Council II. For the Catholic Church, the first invitation will likely go to Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the pontifical council for Christian unity.
What happens at the pan-Orthodox council will show what kind of new equilibrium will emerge between the two most significant leaders of all Orthodoxy, Kirill and Bartholomew.