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Commencement of the Synaxis of the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Throne’s Meetings

is All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew commenced the meetings of the Synaxis of active Metropolitans and Archbishops of the Ecumenical Throne, who, at the Patriarch’s invitation, met at Holy Trinity Church of Stavrodromion, Istanbul, from September 1-3, 2018.

The Synaxis, comprised of more than one hundred hierarchs from around the world, met under the chairmanship of the Patriarch to discuss matters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as topics of inter-Orthodox interest.

During his Keynote Address, the Patriarch underscored, amongst other things, that “at times, we confront trials and temptations precisely because some people falsely believe that they can love the Orthodox Church, but not the Ecumenical Patriarchate, forgetting that it incarnates the authentic ecclesiastical ethos of Orthodoxy.”

The Patriarch also emphasized the following:

During the first millennium, our blessed forefathers confronted the temptation of heresy. The great temptation of the second millennium, which was also bequeathed to the millennium we have now entered, is the status of jurisdictions. The source of this problem is ethnophyletism, the propensity to expansionism and the disregard of the boundaries defined by the Patriarchal and Synodal Tomes. The Ecumenical Patriarchate bears the responsibility of setting matters in ecclesiastical and canonical order because it alone has the canonical privilege as well as the prayer and blessing of the Church and the Ecumenical Councils to carry out this supreme and exceptional duty as a nurturing Mother and birth-giver of Churches. If the Ecumenical Patriarchate denies its responsibility and removes itself from the inter-Orthodox scene, then the local Churches will proceed “as sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9.36), expending their energy in ecclesiastical initiatives that conflate the humility of faith and the arrogance of power.

All the grandeur of our Patriarchate is exhausted in the service to the mystery of the Church. Its uniqueness does not lie in the possession of some superhuman secular power, but in the humble and selfless desire to subject the temptation of power to grace, while transforming the insecurity and fear of possessing and dominating to freedom and grace. It is here that we experience the final glory of the spirit identified with the ultimate humility, the power “fulfilled in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12.9)