Communique from the 4th Pre-conciliar All-Orthodox Conference in Chambesy from June 6-12 , 2009
The Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
The Fourth pre-conciliar all-orthodox conference - which was organized by His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the blessing of Their Graces Heads of local Orthodox Churches, expressed at their gathering at the Phanar from October 10-12, 2008 - was held at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy (Geneve) from June 6-12, 2009.
The conference began with the All-orthodox holy Liturgy on the Feast of Pentecost, and was presided by His Eminence Metropolitan John of Pergamum, the representative of Ecumenical Patriarch, and with the help of the secretary for the preparation of Holy and Great Assembly of the Orthodox Church His Eminence Metropolitan Jeremy od Switzerland. Representatives of all autocephaly Orthodox Churches took part in the work of the Conference, upon the invitation of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
A content of the work of the 4th pre-conciliar all-orthodox conference was a discussion on a issue of canonic organization of orthodox diaspora. The appropriate decision was brought at the beginning of the Conference.
The Conference considered documents which the Inter-orthodox preparatory commission prepared on its sessions in Chambesy, held from November 10-17, 1990 and from November 7-13, 1993 as well as the text with the conclusions of the congress of the orthodox canonists which was held in Chambesy from 9-14, 1995. In these documents were put some explanations, updates, revisions and additions and they were all approved.
The Conference expressed the joint desire of all Orthodox Churches that the issue of the canonic organization of orthodox diaspora to be solved in accordance with the ecclesiology and the canonic tradition and praxis of the Orthodox Church. The Conference decided that new bishopric councils in certain regions of the world to be established in order to adjust the conditions in diaspora, i.e. among orthodox believers who live beyond traditional limits of the local Orthodox Churches. Presidents of these councils will be bishops who have honorary precedence among bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in actual region, and on occasions of their absence, next bishops, by order of dyptichs of Churches. Members of those councils are all bishops recognized by the all Orthodox Churches as canonic, and who serve pastoral service and have the competent authority over existing communities in each region. A mission of these bishopric councils is to manifest and advance the unity of the Orthodox Church, to serve mutually pastoral service among the orthodox faithful of regions and to witness together Orthodoxy before the world. The decisions of the orthodox councils will be brought by consensus of Churches represented by their bishops.
The Conference approved also a draft of the Rules on work of bishopric councils by which is defined general principles of their organization and their performance.
Other subjects for Holy and Great Assembly, i.e. a theme regarding ways of proclaiming autocephaly or autonomy, as well as a theme of a sequence of Churches at dyptichs, will be considered on next sessions of Inter-Orthodox preparatory commissions, whose suggestions are going to be proposed on next Pre-conciliar all-orthodox conferences for approval.
Chambesy (Geneve) June 12, 2009
President of the Conference
+ Metropolitan John of Pergamum