November 28, 2023

On the presentation of the Fourth Basic Congregation of the Synod, Metropolitan Job (Getcha) of Pisidia, Co-President of the Joint Worldwide Fee for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, gives a mirrored image on the expertise of synodality within the Orthodox Church.

Intervention of His Eminence Metropolitan of Pisidia Job (Getcha)
XVI Basic Strange Meeting of the Synod of Bishop
Vatican, 9 October 2023

Your Holiness,

Pricey Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Above all, I wish to specific my gratitude for the consideration granted to the Orthodox Church to take part on this Synod of Bishops, and to the primary throne of Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to be represented right here, and to have the ability to specific itself to bear witness to the apply of synodality within the Orthodox Church.

For the Orthodox, synodality corresponds to the apply established by the primary ecumenical council (Nicea, 325) of gathering the bishops of a area at the least twice a 12 months underneath the presidency of their protos (cf. canon 5). This synodality is greatest described by Apostolic Canon 34:

“The bishops of the individuals of a province or area [ethnos] should acknowledge the one who’s first [protos] amongst them, and take into account him to be their head [kephale], and never do something necessary with out his consent [gnome]; every bishop might solely do what issues his personal diocese [paroikia] and its dependent territories. However the first [protos] can’t do something with out the consent of all. For on this manner harmony [homonoia] will prevail, and God shall be praised by means of the Lord within the Holy Spirit”.

Thus, in gentle of this textual content, it seems that:

1)      A synod is a deliberative assembly of bishops, not a consultative clergy-laity meeting.

2)      There can’t be a synod with out a primate/protos, and there can’t be a primate/protos with out a synod.

3)      The primate/protos is a part of the synod; he doesn’t have superior authority to the synod, neither is he excluded from it.

4)      The harmony/homonoia which is expressed by means of the synodal consensus displays the Trinitarian thriller of the divine life.

It’s by means of this apply of synodality, as described by the Apostolic Canons and the canons of the First Ecumenical Council, that the Orthodox Church has been administered over the centuries till the current day, though the frequency and structure of the synods might differ from one native autocephalous Church to a different.

In gentle of this, lets say that the understanding of synodality within the Orthodox Church differs tremendously from the definition of synodality given by your current meeting of the Synod of Bishops.

Nonetheless, it ought to be admitted that in sure historic circumstances the Orthodox Church has concerned the clergy and laity in synodal decision-making. Within the Ottoman empire, the election of Primates was carried out by clergy-laity assemblies. Within the 17th century, the Ecumenical Patriarchate prescribed that the Metropolitan of Kiev be elected by a clergy-laity meeting in Kiev. Two centuries later, in Russia, the Slavophiles, impressed by the theology of communio of the Tübingen college, solid the idea of sobornost, eager to contain all of the elements of the Church in its administration. This culminated initially 20th century within the native council of the Church of Russia (Moscow, 1917-1918) which proposed that ecclesial selections be taken by a council (sobor) consisting of representatives of the episcopate, clergy, monks and laity. Nonetheless, the Bolshevik revolution didn’t enable the implementation of this new mode of administration within the Church. Nevertheless, within the Church of Cyprus, till right now, bishops are elected not completely by the episcopate, but additionally by the clergy and the laity: on the first stage, all the inhabitants of the Island votes from the listing of all of the candidates, then, in a second step, the synod of bishops chooses one from the three candidates having obtained nearly all of votes.

Nonetheless, the case of the Church of Cyprus constitutes an distinctive case in up to date Orthodoxy, the place, in any other case, the apply of synodality implies completely an meeting of bishops. Thus, the Holy and Nice Council (Synod) of the Orthodox Church which gathered in Crete in 2016 was made up of 162 delegated bishops, whereas the 62 advisors (clergy, monastics and laity) that had been current didn’t have the best neither to talk, nor to vote.

Thanks on your consideration!

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