Antiochian Patriarchate Statement Regarding the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches
On March 8, 2014, the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East issued the following statement regarding the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches held at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople:
The delegation of the Antiochian Patriarchate has participated in the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches and its preparatory meetings held at the Headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople from March 6 to 9, 2014. The delegation, consisted of Their Eminences Metropolitan Saba (Esber) and Metropolitan Silouan (Moussi), and Father Porphyrios (Georgi), has worked with great joy and clear dedication to make this Synaxis succeed. His Beatitude Patriarch John X was absent from the Synaxis due to health reasons.The Antiochian delegation raised the conflict between the Antiochian and the Jerusalemite Patriarchates. The delegation endeavored, under the direct guidance of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, and in collaboration with His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, to find a solution for this conflict according to the agreement which was drafted at the meeting held in Athens– June 2013 – and attended by the representatives from the Churches of Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem.
WHEREAS, all the efforts made by His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Antiochian Delegation to find a solution with His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem were met with failure;
AND WHEREAS, the Church of Jerusalem still insists on creating an archdiocese and setting up an archbishop within the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Antioch;
AND WHEREAS, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem is refusing any solution for this conflict which does not present the current situation as a fait accompli, and not recognizing that the majority of the Orthodox Churches acknowledge the rightness of the Antiochian position;
AND WHEREAS, the Patriarchate of Antioch has exhausted all peaceful solutions, and withheld the decision of her Holy Synod to sever communion with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, with the aim of opening the way to make everything possible for the success of the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, and with the hope that this conflict be resolved with the spirit of brotherhood and peace during this Synaxis;
AND WHEREAS, upon the Patriarch of Jerusalem's rejection of the mediation of His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch to resolve the conflict according to the terms of the Holy Tradition and ecclesiastical Canon Law;
THEREFORE, the Patriarchate of Antioch resolved to:
1- Withdraw her delegation from the Synaxis of the Primates of Churches, held in Constantinople between the 6th and the 9th of March, 2014, and suspend putting her signature on its closing statement until a resolution for the crisis is reached;
2- Not participate in the closing Divine Liturgy service which will be held on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, as an expression that Orthodox unity cannot be realized under the violation of one Church the canonical boundaries of a Sister Church, and her refusal to acknowledge the agreement which took place through the good and loving care of the Ecumenical Patriarch;
3- Raise the issue again in the meeting of the Antiochian Holy Synod meeting which will be held on 27th of March, 2014, in order to take the measures which the Synod deem appropriate,taking into consideration the recent situation.
In conclusion, the Antiochian Patriarchate cannot but entreat the Primates of the Sister Orthodox Churches to work on resolving this conflict, as
soon as possible, according to the precepts of the Ecclesiastical Canon Law, in order to avoid any impediment toward Orthodox unity that this matter leads to.