Original Research - Special Collection: Ignatius van Wyk Dedication

Eastern Orthodox Churches and Ecumenism according to the Holy Pan-Orthodox Council of Crete (2016)

Iuliu-Marius Morariu
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 4 | a4954 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i4.4954 | © 2018 Iuliu-Marius Morariu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 March 2018 | Published: 10 September 2018

About the author(s)

Iuliu-Marius Morariu, Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Babeş-Bolyai University, Romania; and, Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Starting from the investigation of the documents issued by the Bishops who participated in the Holy Pan-Orthodox Council held in June 2016 in Crete, the author speaks in this research about the way in which ecumenism is understood from the perspective of this important event. The article tries to answer the question ‘How did the event influence the Orthodox attitude towards ecumenism?’ analysing documents, Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World and Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World, he shows that the dialogue entailed by ecumenism is perceived nowadays, according to the documents of the World Council of Churches, like a pilgrimage of justice and peace, and he highlights the main topics of this perception. Therefore, he shows that, according to the documents, a real and fruitful dialogue with other Christian faiths must be based on the Trinitarian witness, the Bible, the Tradition, the Creed and the teaching of the Seven Councils and that, among its main topics, one must definitely mention the witness, love, dialogue, the fight against discrimination or the care for the future of the Earth. The relevance of the ecclesiological background and of its understanding for the future of this dialogue is also mentioned. The documents are investigated in a deductive and comparative-analytic way by the author. If before the Council there was no official general attitude of the Orthodox space regarding ecumenism, nor an official document on this topic – although between 1968 and 1998 (the year when the Georgian and Bulgarian Orthodox Churches withdrew from the WCC), all the Orthodox Churches were members of the WCC – after this event, there is an official position and a list of main topics that could be developed and principles that should be respected for a fruitful dialogue in the future, at least for the Churches that took part in the Council. By analysing the aforementioned topics, by correlating them with other texts dedicated to the Council of Crete, and also by emphasising the perception of the Orthodox Church about ecumenical dialogue and its developments starting from the aforementioned event, the research brings into attention a sensitive topic and highlights some of its important, but not enough highlighted, aspects.


Ecclesiology; Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World and Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World; witness; pilgrimage


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