Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Media Center


Statement of the Antiochian Orthodox Media Center

at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East

Balamand, January 29, 2016


The Synaxis of Primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches took place, following the invitation of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Geneva, Switzerland, from 21st to 28th January, 2016. 

The Synaxis was presided by His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, and attended by His Beatitude Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and All Palestine, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch Iliya II of All Georgia, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania, His Holiness Patriarch Neofit of Bulgaria, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania, and His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

Their Beatitudes Patriarch John X of Antioch and Metropolitan Sava of Warsaw and All Poland were unable to attend for health reasons.  Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece was not able to attend the Synaxis. All the three Primates, however, were represented by official delegations of their respective Churches.

 The Delegations of Antioch was headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Isaac of Germany and Central Europe, and included His Eminence Silouan Metropolitan of the British Isles and Ireland, and Protopresbyter Porphyrios Georgi, Dean of the Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology.

The Primates and heads of the delegations of Orthodox Churches celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Stavropegic Church of St Paul on January 24. The delegation of the Patriarchate of Antioch did not participate in the Liturgy because of the interruption of ecclesiastical communion with the Patriachate of Jerusalem over the latter’s violation of the canonical and historic geographical jurisdiction of Antioch.

During the Synaxis, the Antiochian delegation deployed many fraternal efforts for the purpose of resolving the conflict with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem without reaching any solution.

The Synaxis approved the document entitled “The Mission of the Orthodox Church in the Contemporary World” and decided to withdraw from the Agenda of the council the Item on the “The Matter of Common Calendar”. 

The Synaxis did not unanimously approve the document entitled “The Sacrament of Marriage and its Impediments” following some concerns raised by the Churches of Antioch and Georgia. 

The two documents on the “Council’s Rules of Procedure” and “the Decisions of the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches (Chambesy, January 21-28, 2016)” did not enjoy the unanimity of the Autocephalous Orthodox churches following some objections made by the delegation of the Church of Antioch, and therefore were not approved.

The Primates expressed their support for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East and their ongoing concern for the abduction of the two Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul Yazigi of the Patriarchate of Antioch and Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Archdiocese.

Finally, the proposal to convene the Holy and Great Council at the Orthodox Academy of Crete from June 16th to 27th, 2016 was communicated to the media.