CWN - On June 21, participants in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, gathered at the Orthodox Academy of Crete, discussed “The Orthodox Diaspora,” one of six draft documents on the council’s agenda.

In recent weeks, four of the 14 churches decided not to send delegations to the council, so ten of the 14 Orthodox primates, joined by 154 bishops, examined the draft document, which received unanimous approval from all 14 primates in January.

The document calls for the creation of a dozen “episcopal assemblies” in regions outside of traditionally Orthodox territories. The document states:

The work and the responsibility of these Episcopal Assemblies will be the concern for manifesting the unity of Orthodoxy, the development of common action of all the Orthodox of each region to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox living in the region, a common representation of all Orthodox vis-à-vis other faiths and the wider society in the region, the cultivation of theological scholarship and ecclesiastical education, etc.