CWN - Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has arrived in Crete to prepare for the June 19 opening of the Pan-Orthodox Council, and issued a plea for other Orthodox churches to participate in the meeting.
Prospects for the success of the meeting improved somewhat when the Serbian Orthodox Church, which had expressed misgivings about proceeding with the council, announced its intention to join in the meeting. However, the Russian, Georgian, and Bulgarian Orthodox churches have said that they will not participate, as has the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch.
Despite these defections-- and despite a plea from the Moscow Patriarchate for postponement of the event-- the Ecumenical Patriarchate has insisted that the Pan-Orthodox Council will proceed on schedule. The rules of the meeting had included a provision that all decisions by the council must be accepted by all the Orthodox churches. Nevertheless the Ecumenical Patriarchate has taken the stand that decisions of the council will be binding on all Orthodox bodies, whether or not they participate.