On Monday evening, September 3, 2018, the sessions of the Synaxis of active Metropolitans and Archbishops of the Ecumenical Throne came to a close. The Synaxis opened on September 1, and was chaired by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at Holy Trinity Church of Stavrodromion, Istanbul.
After the keynote address by His All-Holiness, the Synaxis included a discussion of matters concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate and of inter-Orthodox interest. Presentations were offered by Elder Metropolitans John of Pergamon and Demetrios of the Princes’ Islands, as well as Metropolitans Emmanuel of France, Andreas of Arkalochorion, Elpidophoros of Bursa, Amphilochios of Adrianopolis, Bartholomew of Smyrna, and Bishops Kyrillos of Abydos and Makarios of Christopolis. There followed extensive discussion with questions and proposals on the topics by participating hierarchs.
In his closing address, His All-Holiness emphasized:
The Church’s identity, marked by service and eschatology, is today threatened not only by secularism but also by a spirituality of isolationism and introversion that are infiltrating the Church. We are beneficiaries and guardians of a sacred deposit bequeathed by the Fathers: the true faith, worship and doxology, a genuine way of life in and according to Christ, a truth that liberates, a love of creation and humankind, a culture of solidarity, all within an unbroken historical tradition witnessed in the confession and sacrifice of the Saints, in Orthodox piety and spirituality, in the miracle of patristic theology, in the ascetic ethos of the Cross and Resurrection, in the eucharistic way of life, and in the hope for eternity. Each of us, most reverend brothers, along with all clergy and laity, are servants and supporters of these truths and blessings before God and humankind.
Elsewhere, he noted:
We are striving for the unity and stability of Orthodoxy as well as for a common ecclesial witness. During this Synaxis, we have extensively discussed inter-Orthodox matters. The Ecumenical Patriarchate—being responsible for the safeguarding of unity, but also the coordination of inter-Orthodox relations and pan-Orthodox initiatives—carries out this sacred ministry in the Orthodox world, faithfully adhering to the unshakable ecclesiological and canonical principles of the Tradition of our Fathers.
Finally, His All-Holiness added:
We are also boldly cultivating an encounter with our contemporary world, within which the Church lives and offers its witness. The great challenges of our time, including the domination of technological progress, secularization, globalization, ongoing decline and neglect of the social and societal dimension of freedom, social injustice, gratification and greed, destruction of the natural environment, but also ethnophyletism, religious fundamentalism, the clash of cultures and other threats to the sacredness of the human person, demand common answers, joint witness, and a collaborative path to the future. Metropolitan John of Pergamon wisely reminds us of this mandate for Orthodoxy: “In the world that we face, Orthodoxy cannot provide a witness divided in many parts, but rather a witness ‘with one mouth and one heart’. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has the obligation of reminding everyone of the catholicity and ecumenicity of the Church, advocating a spirit of reconciliation that overcomes conflict and serves the unity of Orthodoxy.”