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    A picture taken in Moscow on May 6, 2016 shows the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos.

    Pan-Orthodox Council Decisions Cannot Be Binding for All Orthodox Churches

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    Upcoming Holy and Great Orthodox Church Council cannot be binding for all orthodox churches.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The decisions that will be taken by the upcoming Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in Crete cannot be binding, as it would be convened in spite of the decision of the five local Orthodox churches to postpone it, the deputy chair of the Moscow Patriarchate’s External Church Relations Department told Sputnik on Sunday.

    The Council will convene on the Greek island on June 20-26 after over 50 years of preparations. Of the 14 national Orthodox churches, four said they would not attend the event, including the Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Georgian and Bulgarian Orthodox Churches, as well as the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East. The Serbian Church insisted on postponing the Council meeting, but eventually decided to send its delegation there.

    "Of course, no compulsory nature of the decisions taken without regard to the views of our bishops at the Council [which will be] convened despite the call of the five local churches to postpone it," Archpriest Nikolai Balashov said.

    The Pan-Orthodox Council was called at the Sixth Synaxis of Primates in Chambesy, France on January 2016. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople said the top clerics had finalized the council’s agenda and prepared documents ahead of the historic occasion.

    Commenting on the autocephalous church's remarks, the Russian Patriarchate said that contrary to Constantinople’s claims, the decision to convene the Pan-Orthodox Council was neither taken unanimously nor signed by all churches.

    Balashov said that Constantinople' "might have apparently forgotten" that the decision to convene the Council was not unanimous, but there was a possibility of reaching a consensus, if the Pan-Orthodox community "made serious efforts to work together."

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    council, church, decisions, Orthodox Epiphany, Crete
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