Tag Archives: Holy and Great Council

The International Orthodox Theological Association: Conciliarity from Below

by Paul Gavrilyuk  |  ελληνικά  |  ру́сский

The Holy and Great Council of Crete (2016) demonstrated that pan-Orthodox gatherings are possible in our time. The Council also made manifest global Orthodoxy’s enduring tensions and divisions. The delegation of the Patriarchate of Antioch did not attend the Council primarily because of its broken communion with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church did not attend the Council because of its tensions with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which have now escalated into the Moscow Patriarchate’s unilaterally breaking the communion with Constantinople.

Our geopolitical quarrels have turned us inward; they have drained our financial resources; they have distorted our spiritual compass and diminished the potential of the Church’s salvific mission. Nevertheless, the Holy and Great Council has awakened a desire for a more connected global Orthodoxy in the hearts of many. Despite our divisions, the conciliar spirit is afoot. It is time to become the Church of the Councils not only in theory, but also in practice.

Responding to the call of the conciliar spirit, in February 2017 a group of Orthodox scholars and professionals created the International Orthodox Theological Association, or IOTA. Continue reading

The Crisis of Orthodox Multilateralism A Challenge for Pan-Orthodox Conciliarity

by Rev. Dr. Nicolas Kazarian  |  ελληνικά  |  ру́сский  |  српски

The contemporary Pan-Orthodox conciliar process appeared in parallel to the creation in 1920 of the first global, political and multilateral institution, the League of Nations, which later became the United Nations after the Second World War. This correlation is even more apparent when we look at the well-known Encyclical of the Ecumenical Patriarchate issued in 1920, which clearly established a link between the international response to the tragedy of the Great War and the multilateral engagement of states in preventing future war and called Churches to come together and act as peace builders.

“Wherefore, considering such an endeavor to be both possible and timely especially in view of the hopeful establishment of the League of Nations we venture to express below in brief our thoughts and our opinion regarding the way in which we understand this rapprochement and contact and how we consider it to be realizable; we earnestly ask and invite the judgment and the opinion of the other sister churches in the East and of the venerable Christian churches in the West and everywhere in the world.”

This quote is often used as proof of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s leadership in terms of Ecumenical Dialogue. The creation of the World Council of Churches three years after the United Nations, in 1948, proved it right. Continue Reading…

Bishops in Council: Are They Representative?

by Peter Bouteneff

It is commonly understood in the Orthodox Church that the bishop represents the Church, particularly within its conciliar life. But can he truly represent the Church, in its diversity, in every way and context?

The bishop represents the Church in at least two ways: (1) He distinguishes the local manifestation of the Universal Church from any random gathering of like-minded individuals. (Ignatius’s second-century epistles testify to this episcopal function with reference to the person of Christ.) (2) He carries the duty to maintain continuity with the apostolic faith, the traditio of right doctrine. The early church established a clear succession: Christ → Apostles → Bishops. Continue Reading…

Orthodox Theology and Economic Morality

by Dylan Pahman

While a leader in environmental theology, the Orthodox Tradition lags behind others when it comes to modern social and economic thought. Economic science has been by and large ignored, if not dismissed, in official and unofficial statements, revealing a troubling disregard for the dignity of this science and a troubling willingness to speak about important issues of social justice without making an effort to gain the necessary preliminary competence needed to do so intelligently and effectively. It betrays a disappointingly unscientific posture toward questions of social morality and a closed stance toward economic insights in particular.

By way of example, the Council document “The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World” begins with the following admirable conviction: Continue Reading…