World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Orthodox patriarchs gather in Geneva to prepare Great and Holy Council

Orthodox patriarchs gather in Geneva to prepare Great and Holy Council

22 January 2016

Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch is to chair a meeting of Orthodox primates in Chambésy, Geneva, Switzerland from 21 to 28 January.

The aim of the meeting is to prepare for a larger Orthodox convocation, the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church, scheduled to take place later in the year.

The office of the chief secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate characterizes the meeting as a synaxis, or gathering of the heads of autonomous Orthodox churches, and it will be chaired by Patriarch Bartholomew.

“All of the primates have declared that they will attend the synaxis in person,” said the statement, “with a few exceptions”.

Patriarch John X of Antioch and Metropolitan Sawa of Poland are unable to attend due to health reasons, and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece will be absent for personal reasons. All three will be represented by officially authorized delegates.

“The synaxis will deal with matters related to preparation for the Holy and Great Council, which has been scheduled to convene this year,” said the Orthodox statement.

A divine liturgy  will be celebrated  in the  Church of St Paul, at the Orthodox Centre of Chambésy, with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presiding and the other primates co-celebrating with him.

The title “Ecumenical Patriarch” dates to the sixth century and historically belongs to the Archbishop of Constantinople.

The preparation for the forthcoming Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church has been years in the making, and the agenda was formulated by the Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference, in Chambésy, held from 21 to 28 November 1976

The WCC is a fellowship of 345 member churches who together represent more than half a billion Christians around the world.  WCC member churches can be found in all regions of the world and include most of the world's Orthodox churches (Eastern and Oriental).

Ecumenical Patriarchate hosts scholarly meeting (WCC press release of 14 January 2016)

Ecumenical Patriarch Convenes Synaxis at Chambésy, Geneva (WCC press release by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America of 19 January 2016)