Church of Albania: The Convocation of the Holy and Great Synod of Orthodoxy is Imperative


Aurelian Iftimiu – Romanian Orthodox Basilica Press Center 

Read below the statement by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Albania regarding the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church:

Considering the debates that have recently arisen about the planned Holy Synod of Orthodoxy, we feel obliged to briefly emphasize the following:

1. The decision about the convocation of the respective Synod was taken in the last two Synaxes of the Primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, in Constantinople in 2014 and in Chambésy (Geneva) in 2016. The decision taken in Constantinople was not signed by one of the churches, nonetheless it was approved by the majority. The same happened in the assembly of 2016 in Chambésy.

   The cancellation of the convocation of the Holy and Great Synod cannot occur without a new decision taken by the body who decided on this convocation. It cannot be canceled at the last minute through declarations and messages delivered from various directions.

2. The consensus (symphony, unanimity) function when the Church organs meet together, study the issues and make decisions. The meaning of consensus was clarified in the introductory speech of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in 2016 in Chambésy and without objections being received. Consensus does not mean veto. Generally, the respective twenty-century ecclesiastical tradition must not be underestimated, particularly during the decision-making procedures in a synod.

3. Obviously, many problems exist. This is exactly the reason why the conduct of the Holy and Great Synod is a necessity. It is impossible for all problems to be resolved, but at least some of them will be dealt with. A little is better than nothing at all. The remaining issues will hopefully be addressed in a forthcoming general synod. The postponement of the planned Holy and Great Synod would hurt the Orthodox people throughout the world and blemish the reputation of Orthodoxy.

4. Finally, one heartfelt request to the Pan-Orthodox Synod secretariat (Regulation of Organization and Operation. No. 6.7, paragraph 7), which will meet tomorrow in Crete for the final decisions: Let all the efforts be made in order for all members of the Synod to participate in the solemn and inaugural celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Holy Pentecost and Vespers of the Holy Spirit. This is a very important symbol of unity. The undertaking of transporting numerous groups of people in Crete great distances increases the expenses, the fatigue, the unexpected, but also the potential risks. Let the various desires and other interests be sacrificed and the priority must be given to a flawless and calm conduct of the sessions of the Holy and Great

‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!’ (Eph. 3: 20-21).

Tirana, June 8, 2016

Holy Synod of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania