01 February 2016, 17:34
Heads of Orthodox Churches negate the equality of confessions, but are open to the ecumenical movement
Moscow, February 1, Interfax - Orthodox Churches intend to continue participation in the ecumenical (inter-Christian) dialogue.
"Contemporary bilateral theological dialogues conducted by the Orthodox Church the same as its participation in the movement for restoration of unity among Christians are based on its Orthodox self-identification and the spirit of ecumenism, and are aimed at searching the lost Christian unity on basis of faith and tradition of ancient Church of the seven Ecumenical Councils," reads the draft document of the coming Pan-Orthodox Council, approved by heads of Orthodox Churches and posted on the website of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The document stresses that Orthodox Church has always been "the first in search of ways and methods to restore unity of believers in Christ, participated in ecumenical movement from its start and contributed in its formation and further development."
Orthodox leaders reminded that one of the main bodies in the history of ecumenical movement was the World Council of Churches (WCC). Some Orthodox Churches were among its founders, then all of them became its members.
The document further said that the Orthodox Churches participating in the WCC "do not accept the idea of the "equality of confessions" and can not accept the unity of the Church as a kind of interconfessional compromise."
The authors of the document believe the dialogue among Christians should "exclude any practice of proselytism or any other defiant manifestations of interconfessional antagonism."
Pan-Orthodox Council has not been convened for more than a thousand years and has been already prepared for more than half a century. In 2014, primates of the Orthodox Churches made a decision to convene the Council in 2016 in Istanbul, though saying "if unseen circumstances would not impede it." At their meeting in Chambesy (Switzerland), Orthodox leaders have decided to hold the Council on the island of Crete from June 16 to June 27.
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