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Statement of the National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle regarding the Holy and Great Council

By the grace of God and, under the presidency of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarchate Bartholomew, the Holy and Great Council will go forward and light the way to a brighter future for Orthodoxy, Christianity, and indeed the entire world.

The convening of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church during these days on the island of Crete is a cause of celebration and profound gratefulness to God throughout the Orthodox and Christian world -- indeed among all people of good will and faith. Through the patience and perseverance of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the fifty-five year-long process of Inter-Orthodox preparation for this Council is coming to its meet and proper fruition. This is the direct result of his vision, leadership, and deep and abiding love for the good order of the Church, and of the honest and forthright leadership of the majority of the participating Churches.

The ancient Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem, together with the Autocephalous Churches of Serbia, Romania, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Albania, Czech Lands and Slovakia have demonstrated faithfulness, integrity, and a commitment to the People of God by their insistence that the Council proceed. This, despite the regrettable decision by four autocephalous churches not to be part of this historic Council in spite of the fact that they were integral parts of the preparation of the synod and that they had agreed and signed the pertinent documents. The last minute 'crises' voiced in various ecclesiastical quarters should sound an alarm for the faithful in those societies they serve. It is a profoundly sad thing to see the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch -- suffering at this present hour in a virtual genocide of Christianity in the Middle East -- miss the Holy and Great Council because of a difference with another ancient patriarchate, a difference that could be resolved following the Council. And it is equally a profoundly sad thing to see the faithful Russian Church -- finally resurgent after decades of suffering -- proceed with the decision not to attend the Council motivated by what seems to be secular principles rather than principles inspired and determined by the Orthodox Faith.

As the Great and Holy Council commences its work, let us pray that short-sightedness of this ecclesiastical politicking will fall away into the dustbins of history. Even now at this "eleventh hour" (Matthew 20:6), we pray that sound judgment and faith inspired thinking may yet prevail and the four unjustifiably abstaining churches will come. So that the superb divine gift of unity will be fully realized thus fulfilling the ardent desire of our Lord Jesus Christ when he fervently prayed, "Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one" (John 17:11)

By the grace of God and, under the presidency of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarchate Bartholomew, the Holy and Great Council will go forward and light the way to a brighter future for Orthodoxy, Christianity, and indeed the entire world.

In the Service of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,


Anthony J. Limberakis, MD
Archon Aktouarios
National Commander


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