December 20, 2016

The Heresy Tackled at the Holy and Great Synod

By Archbishop Anastasios of Albania

I think it is useful to recall that the Holy and Great Synod is not an exact copy of the Ecumenical Synods, nor is it a facsimile of Assemblies of the Western Christian tradition. Adapted to the circumstances and possibilities of the 21st century it has its own characteristics. It remains however as a tangible and clear symbol of unity of the Orthodox and a valuable institution for its life and witness in the contemporary world. There are some who believe that only an exact repetition of Synods of the past are authentically Orthodox. But the Holy Spirit does not act only in one era. He remains the determinant guide of the Church throughout the course of time. "Today the grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together" (Apolytikion for Palm Sunday)....

Some have raised the question: In the great Orthodox Synods some heresy was addressed. What heresy is to be tackled by the Holy and Great Synod? The answer is simple. The greatest heresy, the mother of heresies - egocentrism. Personal, group, philetistic, parochial, ecclesiastical, etc. egocentrism, which poisons human relationships and every form of harmonious and creative coexistence. And on other occasions and conferences for world peace, we have expressed the belief that "the opposite of peace is not war but the egocentrism of individuals, nations, and various groups." And for this divisive disease the only antidote that remains is selfless love, as it was determined and incarnated by Christ and His faithful followers. This is why the contribution of the Church always remains timeless, valuable and irreplaceable....

The Holy and Great Synod is called to manifest in the contemporary world a dynamic Orthodox tradition, open to the searchings of humanity, constantly inspired by the surety of the Cross and Resurrection and radiating the truth and love and beauty of Orthodoxy. "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen" (Eph. 3:20-21).

Source: From the Address at the Opening Session of the Holy and Great Synod, 19 June 2016. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.