Crete, June 20, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
“Today’s Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church is called upon to shield its unbroken unity as a fundamental factor of its Divine Mission” stressed on noon Sunday the President of Greece, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, during the lunch he hosted for the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, who are in Crete for the Synod.
Welcoming the Primates, Mr Pavlopoulos referred to the convocation and commencement of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, noting: “I am searching reverently in order to come up with the appropriate lessons for the occasion, in the A’ Ecumenical Council, which Constantine the Great convened in Nicaea of Bithynia in 325 and which was attended by the then Great Fathers of the Church”.
It is a necessary, on my part, recursion, since the aforementioned First Ecumenical Synod determined in large the structure and the history of the Orthodox Church, said the Greek President.
Mr. Pavlopoulos stressed in particular that the First Ecumenical Synod elected the Synodical system, “certainly not as a mere administrative practice, but as an existential way with which the Orthodox Church, around the world, operates, with our Lord Jesus Christ at its head and the faithful as its members, expressing its consciousness, taking its decisions by the grace of the Holy Spirit and formulating the dogma as a witness account for the truth against any heresy”.
Following that, he gleaned some of the directions and the value of the Synodal System, making mentions and noting:
”In the beginning is the Gospel of John (17.21 to 22), which records the Episcopal Prayer of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In it, speaking to future apostles and those who would believe in their word, Jesus address his Father wishing: “For them to be always united”.
She then referred to the Symbol of Faith, “starting from the fundamental relationship of unity of the three facets of Trinity, it expresses commitment ‘to a, holy, catholic and apostolic Church'”.
He also noted that “the Divine Liturgy of St. Ioannis Chrysostomos dominates the prayer: ‘For the peace of the entire world, stability of the holy Churches of God and everyone’s union'”.
Referring in particular to the Holy Synod, Mr Pavlopoulos underlined:
“After approximately 10 centuries, ie after the deeply traumatic Schism of 1054, today the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church is called upon to shield its unbroken unity as a fundamental factor of its Divine Mission. A mission which acquires universal dimensions, since Christianity, with a focus on Orthodoxy, is called to defend, among other things, the principles and values of the European and Western Civilization in general, with emphasis on those of Peace, Democracy, Freedom and Justice”.
The President also said that “we pray piously that the head of the Orthodox Church, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to illuminate your mind and guide your steps, in order to be confirmed, perpetually, the saying of the Apostle Paul “Alive is the Word of God and active and sharper than any blade”.
“Although secular, allow me to wish: The Holy Spirit be within us”, concluded the President.
The President’s speech was followed by a warm Reply by the Ecumenical Patriarch, and then Mr Bartholomew donated to the President of the Republic a holy picture of St Procopios from the Monastery of Xenofontos on Mount Athos.
Photo: Nikos Maginas