On Wednesday afternoon, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew announced the beginning of the working sessions of the Assembly of the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne.
The Synaxis, which takes place under the presidency of the Ecumenical Patriarch, in Constantinople is attended by about 130 Hierarchs, from all over the universe, and will discuss issues concerning the life and ministry of the Mother Church, but also of wider ecclesiastical and social interest.
In his speech, immediately after the Holy Service that took place at the beginning of the working sessions of the Assembly, the Ecumenical Patriarch referred in particular to the difficult period that humanity is going through, during the last two years, due to the consequences of the pandemic.
As the Ecumenical Patriarch pointed out, due to the pandemic and the general confusion that arises from it, it was found that the legal order has a dominant discourse, stronger than that of medicine.
“The rule of law is the one that makes 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.”
He also referred to clergymen who did not face with sobriety, wisdom, and logic the decision of the Church, whose voice is expressed synodically. They opposed the use of masks, vaccinations, and any measures to limit the spread of the virus.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch estimates that this crisis has highlighted 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.
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”.
Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon speaking on behalf of the Hierarchy of the Throne, thanked the Ecumenical Patriarch for his initiative to convene this Synaxis, during which important issues of concern to the Church will be discussed and constructive dialogue will take place.
The participants watched with particular interest the detailed presentation made by Sotirios Tsiodras, Professor of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, on the topic: “The Challenge of the Pandemic”. The Professor willingly answered the various questions and queries of the Holy Synod.
In the same thematic unit, entitled “Pandemic and Ecclesiastical life”, their experiences from the development and treatment of the Pandemic in the ecclesiastical Provinces were transferred by the Metropolitans Nektarios of Hong Kong, Arsenios of Austria, Kyrillos of Ierapytni and Sitia, as well as Archbishop Makarios of Australia.
The working session of the Synaxis will be completed on the evening of Friday, September 3, 2021.