The “Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church” will be held in Crete, June 16-27. The Council, which will be attended by the leaders of all of the world’s 14 Orthodox bodies (though two are threatening boycott), is being described as the Orthodox equivalent of “Vatican II.” The issues to be taken up will reportedly include ecumenical relations, how to handle marriage to someone who is not Orthodox, problems of ethnic identity, achieving greater unity, and dealing with various contemporary questions. After the jump, a story from a Catholic site with an interview of a key Orthodox player.
Orthodox readers, can you tell us more about this? This wouldn’t have the authority of the early church councils, would it?, since it isn’t “ecumenical.” But how would this fit in with its “conciliar” theology? Do you expect the council to take up issues that are roiling the Western churches, such as homosexuality, gender issues, etc.? Is the council likely to “modernize” Orthodoxy, as Vatican II did to Roman Catholicism?
UPDATE: Five church bodies are refusing to come, including the biggest one, the Russian Orthodox Church. So nearly half of the world’s Orthodox churches representing a majority of Orthodox Christians won’t be there. For a good discussion of this disunity, including the big issue of the conflict between Russia and Constantinople for leadership in Orthodoxy, go here. (HT: Joe & McCain)
UPDATE: The Council will go on as planned, despite the absence of the Russians. The Serbian church decided to attend after all, so only four will be absent.