Metropolitan Nifon, Archbishop of Targoviste – Patriarchate of Romania, spoke toNikos Papachristou (amen.gr) about the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church.
N.P.: Your Eminence, how important event is the Holy and Great Synod for the life of the Orthodox Church?
Metropolitan Nifon: The Holy and Great Synod is very important for the whole Orthodoxy and beyond, because is an event prepared during the last almost five decades. It came out of the need to manifest the unity and the joy of being together in a conciliar fellowship. That is why the Synaxis of the Orthodox Primats in 2014 and that of January 2016 decided to hold and convene the Synod in June 2014.
It is important also given the importance of the themes chosen during the preparation process and the majority of them were approved by the last Synaxis of the Orthodox Primates. We are aware that these are many other issues dealing with the Church in the XXI-st century that would require future Pan-Orthodox attention may by in the future Pan-Orthodox Synods. I assume that every Orthodox would like to see in this event as an expression of global Synodality and unity even if there are various nuances of opinions intended to improve the documents that might be adopted.
N.P.: A few days before the holding of the Synod, that one of its objectives is to emphasize the unity of the one Orthodox Church, it seems that this unity to be tested, the Orthodoxy looks like facing a crisis. Are you concerned about the differentiation of some autocephalous Churches and of possibility finally some of them not to come to the Holy Sinod?
Metropolitan Nifon: Yes, we are concerned and hopeful about the various issues raised by some Orthodox Autocephalous sister Churches and we are also sad that many of the nuances of the problems were not solved yet, as for example the Quatar dispute between the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem. The fact that there are some misunderstandings in our Orthodox world on various issues means that we really need the meeting of the Pan-Orthodox Synod, we need to get together and try to clarify them in a spirit of unity and responsibility for the sake of our Orthodoxy. Hoping of course that all the Orthodox Autocephalos Churches will attend as it was decided by all the Primates in January this year.
N.P: Do you believe that the Holy Synod will help the dialogue with the other Christian Churches and Confessions?
Metropolitan Nifon: Our world today needs dialogue in many fields, because the dialogue represents an opportunity for Orthodox mission and witness. The dialogues could be useful if we periodically make “serious evaluations of the theological encounters in order to make sure that they are on the right constructive way”, as His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania said. We hope that the Holy Synod could help in directing properly the dialogue with our fellow non-Orthodox Christian. That dialogue should be a witness to the truth of the Orthodox Church towards the non Orthodox Communities.
N.P: What message would You carry to the Holy Synod of the faithful people of Romania and what is your message that you would like to send through this interview to our readers?
Metropolitan Nifon: First of all, we ask all the people of God – lay and clergy in Romania and elsewhere to pray God for the good success of our Pan-Orthodox Synod. People should be aware that when we gather in Synod, either at local or pan-Orthodox levels, we express our holy faith in the unity of the Church which is the One, Holy, Universal and Apostolic. We need to express our sacramental unity, but at the same time we should show our co-responsibility for the mission of the Church to the world today.