From August 29th to September 3rd, 2015, at the invitation and under the presidency of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the venerable Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne, together with Hierarchs under its canonical charge, including the Autonomous Churches of Finland and Estonia as well as the Ukrainians and Carpatho-Russians under its protection, convened in Synaxis at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stavrodromion, Istanbul.
During the Synaxis, following detailed introductions opened by His All-Holiness, there was discussion on such topics as the development of the Holy and Great Council, the Dialogues with other Christian Churches and Confessions, bioethics, preservation of the environment, and others.
There was special focus on discussion of the problem of migration in its pastoral, humanitarian and other dimensions.
Moreover, based on recent global events, this Synaxis of Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate directed an appeal for all people throughout the world to respect the sacredness of the human person as priest of creation with a mandate from God for its safekeeping. The Synaxis also condemned every form of violence, fanaticism and desacralization that renders humanity an object of exploitation.
At this assembly, the Hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne determined with great concern and profound sadness that, in today’s circumstances, Christ is once again being crucified and indigenous Christian populations in the Middle East and Africa – with a rich cultural heritage and contribution – are forced through the oppression and brutality of religious fundamentalists to abandon their ancestral homes, while refugees are obliged – as Christ was once persecuted by Herod – to seek hospitable security in the West and leave behind in ruins the monuments of their civilization, which they have revered for centuries.
In light of this tragic reality, in recalling its own ordeals, the Great Church of Christ stands in solidarity with these Christian communities and supports – before the relevant international authorities – the right of all peoples to worship their God freely, while at the same time declaring that religion should unite races and civilizations, serving as the foundation of culture and humanness.
Furthermore, the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate directed their attention and prayer toward the thousands of their troubled brothers and sisters in difficult circumstances in Ukraine, expressing their wish that division may desist while peace and unity may prevail for the pious Ukrainian people, who received its faith and baptism from the Mother Church of Constantinople.
The Hierarchs gathered at the Synaxis communicated their blessing to the faithful of the blessed eparchies of the first-throne Church throughout the world as well as to “every Orthodox Christian soul,” together with their expression of respect toward Their Beatitudes, the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, with the hope that the Holy and Great Council of our Orthodox Church may be realized next year.