Holy and Great Council discusses fasting, marriage in fourth day

Kolymvari, Crete, Greece
23 June 2016

Ecumenical Patriarchate Press Release

On the fourth day of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the delegation of the Patriarchate of Romania at the Sacred Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monastery of Gonia. Afterward, the hierarchs continued their work in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh sessions of the Council.

The ninth session of the Council continued the discussion on The Importance of Fasting and its Observance Today, while the tenth and eleventh sessions focuses on The Sacrament of Marriage and its Impediments. Following extensive and honest discussion about various canonical and pastoral perspectives of the two agenda topics, the primates and individual hierarchs of the local Orthodox autocephalous Churches proposed a number of suggestions and clarifications.

The hierarchs of the Council voted and received the final texts on Autonomy and the Means by which it is Proclaimed and The Orthodox Diaspora. The primates and other hierarchs of the Council have begun signing these two documents, and will complete the signing process in the morning. In the coming days, they are also expected to sign the revised decisions on The Importance of Fasting and its Observance Today as well as The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World. During the final session of the day, the item about relations with other churches was read in plenary and an open discussion ensued.

During the Council’s proceedings today, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew informed the hierarchs of the tragic accident at a Russian summer camp that led to the death of fifteen children. The patriarch and the other hierarchs agreed to send a letter of sympathy to His Beatitude Patriarch Kyrill of Russia. Moreover, His All-Holiness read a letter of greeting sent by His Excellency Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in which he expressed the fraternal greetings and prayers of the US Catholic bishops to the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church.

In the afternoon, His Eminence Archbishop Job of Telmessos delivered an official news update on behalf of the Holy and Great Council. After the comments made by Archbishop Job, official spokespersons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Church of Serbia, the Church of Romania, the Church of Cyprus, and the Church of Greece gave a common press briefing.

To view recordings of the press briefings, visit https://www.holycouncil.org/video. Visit https://www.holycouncil.org/live each day at 3:30 pm local Crete (UTC +3) to view a live news briefing.

The Council continues meeting through June 25, concluding with the Divine Liturgy on June 26.

As they become available, photos for use without modification or alteration are available at https://www.orthodoxcouncil.org/photos. All texts and homilies related to the Holy and Great Council are available at https://media.holycouncil.org/texts.