Under the leadership of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the historic meeting of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church commenced on Crete on 20 June 2016. According to the Council, hundreds of representatives of ten of the fourteen autocephalous (internally self-governing) Orthodox Churches are gathering to discuss the mission of the Orthodox Church in the modern world and its relations with other Christian churches.
In his video statement announcing the Council, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew expressed the hope that Council will “proclaim a message of hope and love” and highlighted the fact that the Council “constitutes a very decisive step” since it is “expressing its conciliarity on a global level after so many centuries.”
The Council is a major step in cooperation between the Eastern and the Western parts of the Church and is the first time the Holy and Great Council has convened in more than 1200 years. This council has been in in the planning stages since the 1960s and is being held at the historic Orthodox Academy in Crete.
Pope Francis, an advocate of intra- and interreligious dialogue praised the meeting and has also sent delegates to attend the council.
“Let us join in prayer with our Orthodox brothers and sisters for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church opening today on Crete,” he said.
The Council will also be attended by International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) Board of Directors member Metropolitan Emmanuel of France.
The live stream of the Holy and Great Council can be followed here.