Category Archives: Holy and Great Council

Human Beings or Human Persons?

by Paul Ladouceur


Met. Hierotheos (Vlachos) and Met. John (Zizioulas)

One of the liveliest exchanges at the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in June 2016 concerned which Greek words should be used in Council documents to refer to humans: anthrōpos (“human being”); or anthrōpino prosōpo (or simply prosōpon) (“human person”). The main protagonists in this debate were, in the anthrōpos corner, Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos), and in the prosōpon corner, Metropolitan John (Zizioulas), supported by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware). While this episode may seem to be an intra-Greek linguistic spat, the theological stakes are very high. Continue Reading…

The Holy and Great Council: Separating Fact from Fiction

by Evagelos Sotiropoulos

fact or fiction

As someone who traveled to Crete for the Holy and Great Council, who attended both Synodal Divine Liturgies (for Pentecost and the Sunday of All Saints) and who spoke with and heard from dozens of bishops, I am disturbed by the “malicious words” (cf. 3 John) that some are spewing against it. Having had the remarkable opportunity to see the deep faithfulness and reverence bishops have for holy Orthodoxy, I was motivated to write a few observations, responses, and questions, calling into serious question the credibility of the Council’s detractors. Continue Reading…

The Fruit of the Holy and Great Council

by Alberto Melloni

The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church was concluded on Sunday June 26th at Kolymbari, Crete. Within eight days of work, all the typical practices in the history of Synods were experienced: doubt and fermentation, surprises and compromise, conflicts, such as the crisis and the impasse in the final days that brought the Council one step away from failure.

In reality, it wasn’t the absence or the positions of the four Churches (among them the Church of Moscow) which endangered the Council. It was the persistence of a radical faction of the Church of Greece which requested that the other churches not be called “Churches”, including the Catholic Church. At some point, it seemed that the Council was fated to either succumb to this demand or to admit the failure of the Council. In this case, the Council would have given a great gift to the Russian Church, which always recognized the ecclesiastical nature of Catholicism and would have precedence in talks with Rome. Continue Reading…

Brexit and the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church: The Return of Nationalism

by Lucian N. Leustean

During the last weeks of June 2016, two major international events took place, namely the ‘Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church’, on the island of Crete (June 16-27), and the British referendum that narrowly voted to leave the European Union (June 23). At first sight, the two events are unrelated. One is the product of extensive inter-Orthodox dialogue that began in 1923, nearly a century ago. The other is the expression of the democratic political vote that took place in Britain, on Europe’s western periphery. Although neither event referred to the other, both are representative of tectonic shifts in the international liberal order of the post-Cold War era.

What do they have in common? Continue Reading…