Following up on this story …
A declaration issued after Sunday prayers said the Orthodox churches had reaffirmed their “unswerving position and obligation to safeguard the unity of the Orthodox Church … by settling any problems that arise from time to time in relations among us with a spirit of love and peace.”
The meeting was held at a time when the Russian and Ukrainian churches are locked in a dispute over the Ukrainians desire for independence from the powerful patriarchate in Moscow and shake off centuries of Russian influence. The Ukrainian church now answers to the patriarchate in Moscow.
The declaration by the senior clerics – including Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II – spoke of the need of “surrendering … nationalistic, ethnic and ideological extremes of the past.”
“For only in this way will the word of Orthodoxy have a necessary impact on the contemporary world,” the clerics said.
Sunday’s statement also denounced the global financial crisis as a result of “manic profiteering and corrupt financial activity” and called for an economy combining “efficacy with justice and social solidarity.”
It urged Orthodox churches to focus on efforts to protect the environment and highlighted plans to form a committee to study issues of bioethics, “on which the world awaits the position of Orthodoxy.”
The story and participating patriarchates – HERE.
Russian Patriarch Alexiy II made a rare trip to Turkey to attend the event since the 1900s, and co-celebrated mass with other Orthodox leaders.
Relations between him and Bartholomeos have been strained in the past as some Churches in former Soviet countries such as Estonia have broken away from the Russian Orthodox Church and sought to pledge their allegiance to Bartholomeos instead.
Bartholomeos, an ethnic Greek but a Turkish citizen, presides over a community of only several thousand Greek Orthodox in Turkey, a Muslim country.