The Russian Orthodox Church will not send representatives to the Pan-Orthodox Council that is scheduled to open in Crete on June 19, the Moscow patriarchate has announced.
"We will not be able to participate," said Metropolitan Hilarion, the chief ecumenical official of the Moscow patriarchate.
At an emergency meeting, called in response to decisions by several Orthodox bodies to pull out of the gathering, the Russian Orthodox Synod called for postponement of the gathering.
The withdrawal of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is by far the largest of the world's Orthodox bodies, ends the hopes that the Pan-Orthodox Council-- an unprecedented gathering that has been planned for 50 years-- would be a worldwide demonstration of unity among the Orthodox churches.
- The Russian Orthodox Church suggests postponing Sunday's historic meeting of all of the world's Orthodox churches (AP)
- On the Situation Caused by the Refusal of Several Orthodox Churches to Participate in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
- Moscow Patriarchate calls emergency session, weighs withdrawal from Pan-Orthodox Council (CWN, 6/8)