One Orthodox Church after the other responds negatively to the invitation by the Patriarch of Jerusalem for a “fraternal gathering of love” in Jordan, thus sending a strong signal to both Jerusalem and Moscow.
After the Ecumenical Patriarch’s letter saying he did not condone the intervention of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Archbishops of Athens, Cyprus, Albania and Poland informed Patriarch Theophilos that they did not intend to participate in the synaxis.
The Patriarch of Alexandria has stated that he would not participate in such a gathering while Tbilisi, Sofia and Bucharest have not indicated their intention to participate as well.
MOSCOW AND… SATELLITES
Apart from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who will be the host, and the Patriarch of Russia directly concerned, the only ones who appear willing to participate in this synaxis are the few primates who have at times acted as “satellites” of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Despite having severed communion with the Patriarch of Jerusalem for six years because of their disagreement over jurisdiction over the unique parish in Qatar, the Patriarch of Antioch is expected to be the only one of the heads of ancient patriarchates who could accept the invitation.
Archbishop Rastislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia has also been in favor. However, for those who know this issue well, his participation should not be taken for granted because of serious issues within his Church.
His stance so far has led many to believe that the Patriarch of Serbia will also agree to participate in the Jordan synaxis. After all, one of his closest associates, Metropolitan Irinej of Backa, apart from being considered one of the instigators of the Jerusalem’s initiative, has publicly argued against the Ecumenical Patriarch’s stance on the issue and in favor of the privileges of the “Mother Church of Jerusalem”.
SURPRISE FROM POLAND
The biggest surprise so far has been the stance of the Archbishop of Poland, whose participation was certain, as some has thought. This is a nice idea, but to make it worth it we all have to join, those were the words in a letter reportedly sent by the Polish primate to the Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Moreover, in the same letter, Metropolitan Sawa reminded Patriarch Theophilos that such issues were resolved by Pan-Orthodox Council, like the one convened by the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1998 in order to deal with the Bulgarian schism.
According to the invitation of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the “fraternal gathering of love” will meet in late February in Jordan. The rejection of the majority of the primates to attend the event or even send a representative leaves little room the Patriarch of Jerusalem for maneuver despite the fact that Metropolitan of Volokolamsk hopes “…that this meeting will take place, even if all primates do not attend.”
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem continues to remain silent. Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina said that he had no authorization from the Patriarch to make statements or comments and referred to what was published on the official website of the Patriarchate.
The lack of preparation for this kind of summit is yet another proof that it will be canceled.