SYNAXIS OF THE HEADS OF THE ANCIENT ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATES
AND THE CHURCH OF CYPRUS
Phanar, Holy Patriarchal Church
September 1-3, 2011
|At the invitation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and under the presidency of the same, the Heads of the Ancient Patriarchates and of the time-honored Church of Cyprus gathered in Synaxis at the Phanar on September 1-3, 2011. The Synaxis was personally attended by Their Beatitudes Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa, Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem, and Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus. Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch, who was ultimately unable to attend and participate in the Synaxis although he was the first of all invited Patriarchs gladly to accept the invitation, was represented by His Grace Bishop Isaac of Apameia.|
Their Beatitudes and their hierarchal entourages, as well as the representative of the Patriarch of Antioch concelebrated with His All-Holiness and the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne during the Divine Liturgy held on September 1, 2011, in accordance with the prevailing tradition order at the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the occasion of the feast of the Indiction. Moreover, together with the Ecumenical Patriarch, they cosigned the prepared Act for the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year.
In the evening of the same day, the opening ceremony for the Synaxis was held in the holy Patriarchal Church, during which His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch delivered his keynote address, while Their beatitudes the Heads of Churches and the representative of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Antioch conveyed greetings and submitted opinions on the topics of the Synaxis.
1. The principal topic of deliberation at the Synaxis was the study of the situation in the Middle East. The Synaxis involved exchange of information and detailed discussion on the subject, after which it issued a Message of the Heads of Churches to the plenitude of their Churches as well as to all people of good will. The Message expresses solidarity and sympathy for the faithful in that troubled region, addressing an appeal to politicians and religious leaders throughout the world to establish principles and binding policies for the peaceful coexistence of the adherents of various religions in this sensitive geographical region.
2. With regard to the above issue, the Synaxis decided that:
a) The Ancient Patriarchates and the Church of Cyprus should support and assist more effectively the current inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogues with the other two monotheistic religions, which are chaired by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in accordance with the relevant decisions of the 3rd Preconciliar Panorthodox Consultation (1986).
b) The representatives of the Orthodox Churches in the Middle East should communicate with the Office of the Orthodox Church at the European Union whenever problems arise in the region that require resolution in order to secure the appropriate solutions and assume necessary measures.
c) They should:
i. Erect a hospital on private property of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, within its canonical geographical jurisdiction, for the care and benefit of the sick in that troubled region;
ii. They should arrange for an annual scholarship to be provided by each Church for young people, faithful of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, to pursue graduate and post-graduate studies at institutions within their jurisdictions;
iii. And contribute, in cooperation with the Patriarchate of Alexandria, to the struggle against infectious diseases (such as HIV/AIDS) and epidemic illnesses in many countries of the African continent.
3. In the context of its deliberations, the Synaxis also discussed the subject of the Holy and Great Council, deciding that it should hasten its preparation in order to permit its convocation in the foreseeable future. The Synaxis regretfully ascertained that the impasse created last February in the process of the long-prepared convening of this Council is due to provisions in the Regulations Governing the Panorthodox Preconciliar Consultations regarding unanimous decisions. Therefore, the Synaxis submitted a proposal to His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, that he should convene a Synaxis of Their Beatitudes the Patriarchs and Presidents of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches in order to review these provisions, thereby promptly advancing and fulfilling the preparation of the Great Council.
4. The Synaxis adopted the proposal of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that an encounter of religious leaders in the near future should be held in the region of the Mediterranean, during which a form of ecological “Mediterranean Charter” could be issued and declared as a contribution to the effort for the protection of the natural environment, but also to the peaceful coexistence and cooperation of religions in the region.
5. Furthermore, as a result of recent events within the Orthodox Church, the Synaxis underlined the need for all Orthodox Churches to respect and adhere strictly to the geographical boundaries of their respective jurisdictions, as these have been established by the Sacred Canons and their Founding Constitutions.
Finally, Their Beatitudes the Heads of the Churches and His Grace, the representative of the Patriarchate of Antioch, expressed their gratitude to the Ecumenical Patriarch for the invitation extended to them to visit the Sacred Center of Orthodoxy and deliberate in common on matters concerning their Churches during this critical time, and decided that they should meet more regularly on matters pertaining to the Orthodox Church.
At the Phanar, September 3, 2011