A three-day meeting of the heads of Autocephalous (self-governing) Orthodox Churches was launched at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul (Constantinople) yesterday, chaired by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Greek Reporter website reports today (March 7, 2014).
The meeting will focus on the Holy Synod of Orthodoxy which has been in the process of preparation for decades. Ecumenical Patriarchate sources said that Bartholomew is working hard to make sure that the synod will take place next year.
In his opening address, the Ecumenical Patriarch underlined that the meeting takes place at a turbulent time for the Orthodox Church, noting that its ability to exercise its mission is being challenged.
Issues the hierarchs plan to discuss include the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, developments in Ukraine, and the European society's growing alienation from Christian principles.
The three-day meeting is being attended by the heads of 13 Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.