Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus accused bishops, theologians, and laity critical of Holy and Great Council of fundamentalism in speech at opening of Crete Synaxis

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Translated by Jesse Dominick

Source: Orthodox Apologist

June 22, 2016


At the opening of the so-called “Holy and Great Council” on the island of Crete speeches were given by several primates of the Orthodox Churches, but among them stands out the speech of His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus. Speaking of the Council as “undoubtedly a great event which we are experiencing,” His Beatitude with sharp criticism addressed those bishops, theologians, and laity, who subjected the Council itself to thorough theological critiques, developing them for approval in the documents. In particular he said:

“The convening of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, even though it may be unbelievable, is a reality! The absence of some Local Churches does not diminish the value of the Holy and Great Council. The themes and documents of the Council were discussed and unanimously approved of by the delegations of the Orthodox Church and their primates, and thus the Council moves ahead. Their present absence is not related to the topics or the substance of the discussions, but in my view, is caused by the need for communication or internal reasons of the particular Churches. And despite their absence, we can say that 'now they belong to the audience.'”

Unfortunately it seems that His Beatitude attributes the thoughts and decisions of certain other hierarchs and primates of the Orthodox Churches merely to superficiality and a lack of information.

“Inter-Orthodox conflicts, caused by ethnophyletism, were, in my opinion, the first reason why so much time has passed in the preparations for this Council. Ethnophyletism is why the questions of autocephaly and the diptychs have not remained in the Council, and therefore it is also the reason why we need a canonical resolution to the diaspora question. In our era, when national borders are being abolished here and now, the Orthodox not only divide themselves, but make themselves a laughingstock, establishing a national feature to our ecclesiology and our Church identity.

The fundamentalist and fanatic groups, among which are theologians and hierarchs, which to a greater or lesser extent today are active throughout the whole Orthodox world, are a serious reason why a real threat of not only postponing, but even of canceling the Holy and Great Council loomed over it. The opposition of these groups to any idea of drawing nearer to other Christians has indirectly exerted influence on our local Synods, which undertook and are trying to introduce amendments into the texts and terms of the documents which were prepared by the pre-conciliar meetings. We have no illusions. For these groups, we are all in heresy and apostasy.

Such situations are not unheard of in the Church and are not unprecedented. The field of the Church will grow weeds which the enemy sowed. The Church will live even until the end of the ages.”