Patriarch Ilia of Georgia will not attend fraternal gathering in Jordan

His Holiness Patriarch-Catholicos Ilia II of Georgia will not be attending the upcoming fraternal gathering in Amman, Jordan, organized by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Pat. Ilia’s English-language response to the invitation of His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, dated February 7, was published by today.

Unlike the Greek Churches that are refusing to participate, Pat. Ilia declines not because he believes that bishops can only be gathered by the Patriarch of Constantinople, but because, as he writes, the desired result can only be attained if every primate participates in the gathering.

“But if this consent cannot be attained, we will refrain from coming for the gathering,” the Georgian primate writes.

However, he assures the Patriarch of Jerusalem that “We understand very well that your efforts are conditioned by your care about the unity in the Church and your desire to help heal wounds.”

His Holiness also assures the Pat. Theophilos that “We share your position and according to the seriousness of the present circumstances and in connection with the problematic issues, we consider that the convocation and mutual discussion is very necessary.”

Pat. Ilia also emphasizes that the issues at hand “do harm to our unity,” and he expresses the hope that the issues can be worked out as soon as possible.

While the State Department-funded outlet Orthodox Times writes that “the vast majority of Churches refuse to participate in the synaxis of Orthodox primates convened by Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem in Amman,” in fact, thus far, 6 Churches have publicly announced that they are attending, whether via their primate or other representative hierarchs: Jerusalem, Moscow, Serbia, Romania, Poland, and the Czech-Slovak Church, and 6 have publicly announced that they are not attending: Constantinople, Alexandria, Cyprus, Greece, Albania, and Georgia.