Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Talks between Antioch and Jerusalem Planned then Cancelled?

To be read with a very, very big grain of salt and awareness of the source's biases, naturally. Greek original here.

The Meeting of the Patriarchs about Qatar Cancelled: What Happened Backstage

October 20, 2015
by Andreas Loudaros

It appears that this time the attempt to find a solution to the dispute between the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem over the issue of jurisdiction over Qatar has run aground.

Informed sources tell orthodoxia.info that until yesterday afternoon there was strong optimism that the two primates would finally sit at the same negotiating table to resolve their dispute. The meeting was scheduled for this morning at 10AM.

According to information verified by orthodoxia.info, both Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and the deputy foreign minister for ecclesiastical affairs, Ioannis Amanatidis were in contact with the two primates and managed to wrangle their consent for the meeting.

It was agreed that the planned meeting would be attended by the two patriarchs and their collaborators, the Patriarch of Alexandria and the Archbishop of Cyprus as observers, and Deputy Minister Ioannis Amanatidis on behalf of the Greek government.

The goal was to bring the two churches as close together as possible in order, if feasible, to find a final solution.

A room at the hotel where the international conference is being held in Athens was even closed so that the primates could conduct their negotiations undisturbed.

The optimism began to fade, however, when Patriarch John of Antioch changed his attitude yesterday afternoon following the meeting he had with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He did not attend the musical event held for the conference nor the dinner hosted in honor of the primates and foreign representatives by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Although everything was ready for the start of talks today, it was impossible to make any contact with the side of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

The fact that everything was prepared for the meeting, which ultimately never took place, was confirmed to orthodoxia.info by senior politicians and ecclesiastical figures.

Eventually the Patriarch of Antioch and his attendants appeared at the hotel shortly after the meeting he had at the presidential palace with [Greek President] Prokopis Pavlopoulos, just minutes before the Patriarch of Jerusalem's scheduled departure for Israel.

Thus another great opportunity was lost literally at the last minute in a manner similar to how the representatives of the Patriarch of Antioch refused to sign the joint declaration of the Synaxis of the Primates in Istanbul.

Greek Original here.

The Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem in Negotiations about Qatar

October 20, 2015
by Andreas Loudaros

The continuous efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek government have paid off with regard to the issue of the dispute between the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem, as first revealed by orthodoxia.info.

According to sources currently on the sidelines of the international conference on the Middle East, preparations are underway to begin a direct dialogue between the Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem with the Patriarch of Alexandria and Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus as observers. The deputy foreign minister for religious affairs, Ioannis Amanatidis will also be present.

UPDATE 12:07 Until now, it has not been possible for talks to start due to new issues that have emerge.

UPDATE 12:55 The effort has run aground. There is word of a change in attitude on the part of the Patriarch of Antioch. The planned meeting in the presence of the Primates of Alexandria and Cyprus and Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis has not taken place and nothing else has been planned yet.

Greek original here.

Summit in Athens on the Issue of Qatar

October 18, 2015
by Andreas Loudaros

Intense ecclesiastical and diplomatic efforts have been made in Athens in the past day to have the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem return to the negotiating table.

On the occasion of the conference organized by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs on peaceful coexistence in the Middle East that starts tomorrow in Athens, both patriarchs as well as the Ecumenical Patriarch himself will be be under the same roof for the first time since Antioch declared a rupture in communion with Jerusalem.

The Greek government, which is traditionally the guarantor of the stability and security of the Greek Orthodox patriarchates, in conjunction with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, wishes to put a stop to the ecclesiastical conflict between the two Middle Eastern patriarchates at a particularly difficult time for the entire Christian world in the region and looking ahead to the Pan-Orthodox Synod of 2016.

The Greek Foreign Ministry made a similar effort in 2013 under Deputy Minister Costas Tsiaras. At that time the two sides sat at the negotiating table in the presence of representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek State. But it was not possible for the deal to last.

This time, the presence of the patriarchs in Athens is considered a first-rate opportunity to resume the dialogue, at the highest level.

Because of the critical nature of the issue, neither side is confirming or denying anything.

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