Primates’ Synaxis in Amman: online broadcast

26 February 2020 10:56
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry speaking at a meeting in Amman. A photo: His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry speaking at a meeting in Amman. A photo:

All the news about the meeting of the Heads of the Local Orthodox Churches in Jordan.

On February 26, 2020, in the capital of Jordan, Amman, a Synaxis of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches will be convened by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem.

The UOJ presents an online broadcast of events.

UPD: It has just become known that one of the points of the final communique will be the statement: the “Ukrainian issue” can be resolved only at the level of the Pan-Orthodox Council.

19:37 Online broadcast is over.

The official statement on the results of the meeting is to be announced on Thursday morning, February 27.

19:11 The UOJ found out that at 17:00, in parallel with the general session, another meeting was held behind-the-scenes. This is due to an attempt by the organizers to hide as much as possible what is happening from the attention of journalists.

19:08 The final session is over.

19:07 According to our source, the meeting organizers did not like the media activity of the participants and promptness of the media, which nevertheless managed to cover the course of events. In this regard, the second part of the meeting was held on the 15th floor of the hotel, which could not be reached without special passes.

After the meeting, there may be a common dinner.

18:40 Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Church, as well as other Local Churches, is closely monitoring the developments in Amman. “God grant that a useful result is achieved there,” the “Church Today”’s Telegram channel cites the words of a member of the BOC Synod, Metropolitan Daniel (Nikolov) of Vidin. 

17:51 On the Net there is a video of the speech of Patriarch Kirill during the first part of the meeting.

17:04 The second part of the meeting begins. The schedule has changed: the meeting should end at 19:00.

16:40: Bishop of Bačka, the hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, stated that the problems of loss of unity in Orthodoxy are the result of the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He spoke about this in an interview with the edition “Russian Orthodoxy in Great Britain and Western Europe”.

15:57 Other sides of the Amman meeting became known. just days after meeting with the delegation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem at the Phanar, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople sent a tough response to Patriarch Theophilos. He wrote that the meeting of the Primates in Jordan “aims at subverting the established norms and alienating the Orthodox Church from its ecclesiastical foundations,” reports “OrthodoxTimes”.

15:46 Archimandrite Benedict (Kayal), the Jerusalem Patriarchate, told the UOJ about the expectations from the meeting in Amman and the wishes of the Orthodox Ukrainians.

15:42 In the meantime, interesting details are being revealed about the Churches not participating in the Amman meeting.

It turns out that in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Theophilos’s initiative was not even brought to the attention of the members of the Holy Synod. A member of the BOC Synod, Metropolitan Gabriel (Dinev) of Lovech, told the Bulgarian National Radio that they even learned about the date of the meeting from the media. Four metropolitans tried to get the issue of participation of the Bulgarian delegation to be considered at a meeting of the Synod, but this did not happen.

And the absence of Patriarch John of Antioch is connected exclusively with the unsettled dispute over the Qatar jurisdiction between Antioch and Jerusalem, said the head of the ROC DECR Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev).

15:36 Participants in the meeting of the Primates returned from an audience with King Abdullah II of Jordan at Fairmont. The meeting will continue at 17:00.

15:25 The Council of Primates in Amman is only the first meeting from a whole series, said the head of the ROC DECR, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (Alfeyev).

“There are many other issues that are on the agenda that are not resolved due to the fact that the Patriarch of Constantinople has gone into self-isolation,” he explained. “And here the Jerusalem Patriarch as the head of the most ancient Christian See took the initiative to gather the Primates, representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, they arrived. And this is only the first meeting - there will be a continuation. And we will discuss these issues until we solve them.”

According to the hierarch, “there is a general feeling that the Churches want to have some platform for discussing accumulated issues,” since the former platform, headed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, has lost its meaning.

15:06 “The meeting in Amman marks the beginning of the negotiation process between the Orthodox Churches regarding a correct, canonically balanced reaction to the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople,” wrote Bishop Viktor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka on his blog on the “Korrespondent” website.

15:00 As the UOJ found out, in the first part of the meeting, reports were delivered by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, Patriarch of Moscow Kirill, Patriarch of Serbia Irinej, Metropolitan Nifont of Târgoviște (Romanian Orthodox Church).

12:17 The Primate of the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Metropolitan Rastislav, made it clear that meetings similar to Amman would continue.

“I feel sad that not all Local Churches accepted the invitation of Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem to meet and discuss pressing issues and problems of the contemporary church life, the internal life of the Orthodox Church. Anyway, this is only the first session – we’ll see what the next one will bring,” the Church Today telegram channel cites his words.

12:13 "The Orthodox Church was on the verge of a split," a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church delegation in Amman told RIA Novosti. “It will not be possible to solve the problems immediately, it will take a long time to remedy them. But the main point is that we managed to get together at one table and start a discussion. We have commenced the dialogue.”

11:48 His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and Metropolitan Timothy of Bostra, Bishop of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church, during a break.

Primates’ Synaxis in Amman: online broadcast фото 1

11:38 Bishop Viktor (Kotsaba) published in his Telegram channel a general photo of the participants in the meeting.

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11:30 When asked why the meeting is held in such a strictly confidential setting, the spokesman Mr. Peter Welby told the UOJ that this is a norm for meetings of the Primates. And at the end of the meeting, a press release with its results will be published.

11:26 The UOJ found out the details of the upcoming audience at the court of King Abdullah II. It is known that His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch Theophilos III will take part in it.

11:24 In a few minutes, a half-hour break will begin in the meeting. Prior to this, the meeting participants read out the reports. Besides His Beatitude Onuphry, representatives of other Churches took the floor.

11:09 His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry speaking at a meeting in Amman.

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11:00 Bishop Viktor (Kotsaba) published on his Telegram channel the first photos from the meeting room.

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10:35 "There are spiteful notes on the newsfeed on the alleged failure of the Amman initiative," Protodeacon Konstantin Markovich wrote on his Facebook page. “They say, only 3 Primates gathered in person (except for the interested MPs and UOC), 2 more delegations without Predecessors. However, is this really the case? 1. Not a single Ecumenical Council gathered "all" hierarchs of the Ecumenical Church. <...> No need to dramatize the absence of the Antiochian or other Primates. If a person takes a pause to see what comes out of the meeting to assess in silence and make an informed decision, it is his right. The main thing is that these decisions are correct.”

10:34 Meanwhile, the head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, said that the absence of a number of Churches in Amman would not make the meeting less important.

“At one time, when the four Churches announced their refusal to participate in the Crete Council, Patriarch Bartholomew held it anyway, and the decisions of this council are considered binding in the Churches that took part in,” he explained.

And he added that Amman is not going to make any decisions. “This meeting is not for making decisions but for a fraternal discussion of urgent problems and ways out of the crisis,” said the hierarch.

10:05 According to witnesses at the meeting, for the next three hours there “everything is concreted”, i.e. no inside information should be leaked. This is the tough stance of the Jerusalem Patriarchate.

10:01 We also managed to film how the representative of the Jerusalem Patriarchate Archimandrite Benedict Kayal was sent to the assembly hall.

9:59 The UOJ managed to film the chanting of the choir before prayer.

9:51 "I am very impressed by the prayer atmosphere, the atmosphere is spiritual, everyone is set to work," the regent said.

9:44 Regent of the choir, a representative of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, said that “a great atmosphere” reigns at the meeting.

9:42 The prayer is over, the choir has left the hall.

9:13 Security at the Fairmont Hotel completely blocked the possibility of journalistic filming on all floors of the building.

9:11 In addition to the Jordanian TV channel, the only journalist admitted to the meeting room was the British journalist Peter Welby, who was appointed press secretary of the event.

Peter Welby is a consultant on religion and global affairs, specializing in the Arab world. Previously he was the managing editor of a think tank on religious extremism, the Centre on Religion & Geopolitics, and worked in public affairs in the Arabian Gulf. He is based in London and has lived in Egypt and Yemen.

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9:03 Interpreters went to the meeting room.

9:00 Journalists were gathered in a room on the ground floor, closed and guarded. No media will be allowed on the second floor where the meeting will take place.

7:56 A delegation of the Polish Orthodox Church also arrived at a meeting in Amman.

7:49 The night before the synaxis, the Primate gathered for a gala dinner. Patriarch Theophilos said that the meeting in Amman should contribute to the dialogue and unity of the Church and wished to have a fruitful meeting with the grace of God, reports

7:41 “Why do Phanar’s and schismatic resources present it in such a way that a meeting in Amman is convened against Bartholomew?” Archpriest Alexander Ovcharenko asks in his Telegram channel. “Indeed, the Primates were invited not for the trial but for the search of truth, for the exchange of views. The hierarchs gather in order to fraternally discuss very important issues, looking into each other’s eyes, and not to intrigue behind. Why be so afraid and hide under formal pretexts, agitating others as well?

Constantinople, intoxicated by "victories", falls into triumphalism and no arguments any longer apply to it? Then there is a high probability of strengthening centrifugal forces. And yet, even in this format, the Amman meeting is very important.”

25 February

20:22 His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry arrived in Amman.

19:37 The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church arrived at the venue.

16:56 Representatives of the Romanian Orthodox Church arrived in Amman. In the photo – Metropolitan Niphon of Targoviste (to the left).

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16:52 The delegation of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia also arrived at Fairmont.

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16:36 The UOJ filmed how a delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church arrived at the Fairmont Hotel.

15:56 His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry arrived at the Amman event.

15:50 The gathering is held in a strictly confidential format. According to our sources, all the events around the Council of Primates were forbidden from the media coverage. Several groups of journalists have already been driven out of the hotel – including two groups from Russia. The latter tried to film what was happening at the hotel from the roof of the opposite house, but they were thwarted by the police.

According to our information, Patriarch Theophilos blessed only one media outlet to cover the work of the meeting – the state Jordanian TV channel.

15:47 According to our sources, the schedule of events on February 26 will be as follows:

  • 9:00 – prayer, then the beginning of the meeting in the Conference Room of the Fairmont Hotel.
  • 13: 00-16: 00 – a large audience at the court of King Abdullah II of Jordan. The exact composition of the participants is unknown, but it will definitely be attended by the Patriarchs participating in the Synaxis of the Primates.
  • 17: 00-20: 30 – continuation of the meeting in the Conference Room of the Fairmont Hotel. According to unofficial data, at this time, the participants in the event will be working on a press release to present their common position.

15:30 Delegations of the Local Churches began to arrive in Amman. The first were the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

* * *

On November 21, 2019, Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem invited the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches to discuss “the issue of maintaining our unity in Eucharistic communion”.

“The solutions to our biggest problems should be found in a dialogue based on the brotherhood that we share, and we pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us along the path of unity in Christ,” he wrote later in a letter about the details of the upcoming Synaxis.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Greek and Alexandrian Churches responded negatively to this idea and stated that only the Head of Phanar can convene pan-Orthodox meetings.

Later, representatives of the Antioch, Bulgarian and Georgian Churches refused to come to the Synaxis despite the fact that, for example, back in December 2019, Patriarch John X of Antioch reaffirmed his support for the initiative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem.

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