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Council Accepts Proposal of the Church of Greece to Revise Controversial Text

Decisive Change to the "Relations" Text

A proposal by the Church of Greece was unanimously accepted by the Local Churches at the Council in Crete which removes any reference to "recognizing" the historical existence of other Churches.

Here is the statement of the Holy Synod of the Church Greece:

"Pertaining to the important text regarding the relations of the Orthodox Church to the rest of the Christian world, the representatives of the Church of Greece observed the spirit of the hierarchy and suggested the following change to paragraph 6: instead of "The Orthodox Church recognizes the historical existence of other Christian Churches and Confessions," it will read "The Orthodox Church accepts the historical appellation of other heterodox Christian Churches and Confessions," with the result that there was total acceptance of the proposal and full agreement [on the part of all the Local Churches]. In his presentation of the proposal, His Beatitude [Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens] said the following: 'With this change in the text we have succeeded in obtaining a synodical decision which, for the first time in history, limits the historical context of relations with the heterodox not to the existence, but ONLY to their historical appellation [or designation] as heterodox Churches and Confessions. The ecclesiological consequences of this change are obvious. Not only does this decision not negatively affect in any way the age-old orthodox tradition, but on the contrary Orthodox ecclesiology is protected in the clearest manner."

We will withhold our comments on this change and the text until, and if, the text is passed by this Council.

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