CONSTANTINOPLE – His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew convened the Synaxis of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne from September 1 to September 3 in a hotel in Constantinople. More than 130 hierarchs attended from all over the World and discussed ongoing matters as well as a broad set of issues of ecclesiastical and social natures.
The Synaxis opened with an introductory speech of Patriarch Bartholomew, who spoke about the Patriarchate during the difficult period that humanity is going through due to the consequences of the pandemic.
As the Patriarch pointed out, due to the pandemic and the general confusion that arises from it, it was found that the rule of law has been a dominant discourse. He said that, “the rule of law is [what guides] the crucial decisions about the necessary measures to deal with the pandemic and manages the big issues in relation to the Church, religion, and faith.”
His Eminence Metropolitan Geron Emmanuel of Chalcedon thanks the Ecumenical Patriarch on behalf of all the hierarchs for his initiative of convening the Synaxis of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical throne. (Photo: Ecumenical Patriarchate/Nikos Papachristou)
He also referred to clergymen who did not face with prudence, wisdom, and logic the decisions of the Church, whose voice is expressed synodically. He said that, “they opposed the use of masks, vaccinations, and any measures to limit the spread of the virus.”
The Patriarch estimates that the crisis has highlighted the challenges of pastoral and theological poverty, while it has also created the need to seek interpretive criteria, based on which the attitude and decisions about the pandemic will be interpreted.
“The Holy Church of Christ, on the occasion of the pandemic, attempts to highlight and present the need for dialogue between science and theology, which will lead to a deep theological evaluation and submission of substantiated positions.”
The Patriarch also said that “for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the issue of the pandemic is not a personal matter or a matter of moral conduct, or even a choice between good and evil. It is a fact that touches the limits of human existence and causes all of us to choose between the narrow and uphill path: life or death”.
The newly named Archon Protoasikritis Dr. Soterios Tsiodras, professor at the University of Athens, speaks to the Synaxis of the Hierarch on the topic: Challenges of the pandemic. (Photo: Ecumenical Patriarchate/Nikos Papachristou)
Geron Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, speaking on behalf of the Hierarchy of the Throne, thanked the Patriarch for his initiative to convene this Synaxis.
The participants watched with particular interest the detailed presentation made by Dr. Soterios Tsiodras, Professor of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, on the topic: The Challenge of the Pandemic. The Professor enthusiastically answered the various questions and queries of the Holy Synod.
In the same thematic unit, titled Pandemic and Ecclesiastical Life, their experiences from the development and treatment of the pandemic in the ecclesiastical Provinces were discussed by Metropolitans Nektarios of Hong Kong, Arsenios of Austria, Kyrillos of Ierapytni and Sitia, and Archbishop Makarios of Australia.