The meeting organized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople has begun in Crete. During the final stage of preparation of the event, however, several contradictions on a number of issues appeared.
Initially, the event was called the Pan-Orthodox Council. However, after the refusal of a number of local churches to participate, this event can be called nothing more than a meeting, and not even a “Pan-Orthodox” one at that.
The Bulgarian, Antioch, Georgian and Russian Churches refused to take part in the meeting. It became known yesterday that, despite previous statements, the Serbian Church has in fact sent a delegation headed by Patriarch Irinej.
Experts and scholars have expressed concern over a number of the meeting's documents. Most of them have been rejected by various churches. Among the controversial proposals are the question of the church calendar, the issue of married episcopacy, and the reduction of fasting. Moreover, included in the documents was one on “common Christian unity” which, strongly promoted by forces interested in a new union with Rome, is impossible from the point of view of Orthodox canons. It has also been expressed that this meeting might discuss the issue of granting autonomy to the Ukrainian Church.