A petition to create a special delegation of women as consultants at the Pan-Orthodox Council
Source: Patricia Bouteneff on change.org
The Pan-Orthodox Council will meet in Crete at Pentecost. Its voting members will consist of hierarchs from each of the fourteen autocephalous churches. Those delegates will be accompanied by non-voting consultants that may include clergy, monastic, and/or lay participants, with no guarantee that any of them will be female. As a result, the Council is structured in such a way that women—who comprise at least 50% of Orthodox congregations—will have virtually no opportunity to make a substantive contribution on matters that affect the entire body of the Church.
Formal ecclesiastical councils, organized around bishops, have never represented the Church’s actual male-female demographics. But the Secretariat for the Preparation of the Council can take steps to redress the near-complete absence of women’s voices at this important gathering of our Church. We the undersigned support the creation of a special delegation of women, three from each of the fourteen autocephalous churches, to constitute a constructive consultative body at the Pan-Orthodox Council. The Ecumenical Patriarch is including women in his team of consultants; we encourage the other patriarchs to follow his example.