July 15, 2009

Bulgarian Orthodox Synod Says "NO" to Dialogue With Papal Church

Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

On June 28, 2009 a delegation representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate met with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome to participate in the festivities in honor of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The participation of the Orthodox delegation in the late-June liturgies “reminds us of our common commitment to the search for full communion,” Pope Benedict said.

"You already know this, but I am pleased to confirm today that the Catholic Church intends to contribute in every way to making it possible to re-establish full communion in response to Christ’s will for his disciples,” he said.

Pope Benedict said the International Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue Commission would meet in October in Cyprus “to face a theme crucial for relations between the East and West, that is the ‘role of the bishop of Rome in the communion of the church in the first millennium.'” Ecumenical experts believe agreement on how the pope, the bishop of Rome, exercised his ministry before Christianity split into East and West is essential for discovering the way the papacy could be exercised in the church if Catholics and Orthodox successfully reunite.

“I want the participants in the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue to know that my prayers accompany them and that this dialogue has the complete support of the Catholic Church,” Pope Benedict told the Orthodox delegation.

"With all my heart, I hope that the misunderstandings and tensions encountered by the Orthodox delegates during the last plenary session of the commission have been overcome in fraternal love so that this dialogue will be more broadly representative of Orthodoxy", the Pope said. At the last plenary gathering, held in Italy in 2007, the Russian Orthodox delegation walked out to protest the presence of a delegation from the Estonian Orthodox Church, recognized as autonomous by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople but not by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Interestingly at the 2007 meeting the Bulgarian Orthodox Church sent no representatives.

According to a news report by Romfea.org on July 9, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has rejected the invitation once more to the International Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue Commission that was to meet between October 16-23, 2009 in Cyprus.

The Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church examined the letter/invitation sent by the organizers of this Meeting and after discussions decided to send no representatives. They analyzed the fact that prior dialogues between the Orthodox and Papal Church didn't lead in the least to any reconciliation between Orthodox and Papal doctrines.

Apparently the Bulgarian Orthodox Synod did not like the topic for discussion and simply just does not want to waste its time or resources, but did agree to meet with Papal delegates in the future to discuss mutual problems relating to human issues.