Meeting in Crete May Help Tackle Disputes Between Orthodox Churches

© REUTERS / Alexandre MeneghiniPatriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, walks after his arrival at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, February 11, 2016
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, walks after his arrival at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, February 11, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill noted the importance of a meeting of the heads of churches at the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in Crete and expressed hope the meeting would promote preparations for the Pan-Orthodox Council.

A picture taken in Moscow on May 6, 2016 shows the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. - Sputnik International
Russian Orthodox Church to Skip Pan-Orthodox Council
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Greek island of Crete on June 16-26 was set to host the council, after more than 50 years of preparations. A number of churches, including the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Georgian Orthodox Church, have refused to participate in the council as the procedure and documents of the council have not been worked out properly yet.

"I believe that with the presence of good will the meeting in Crete would become an important step to overcome existing disagreements. It may contribute to preparations to that Holy and Great Council that would unite all local autocephalous churches without exception," the patriarch said in a statement sent to the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, and other participants of the council.

On Monday, the Russian Orthodox Church said that its Holy Synod met for an extraordinary session after which it offered to postpone the council to a later date because several Orthodox churches had refused to partake and it was expecting a response from the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

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