In Genève, from 21 to 28 January 2016, a Congress (Synaxis) of the First Hierarchs of the Local Orthodox Churches supposedly will prepare the final agenda for a so-called “all-Orthodox Sobor”, awaited for about a century in certain Church (especially modernist) circles. However, differences amongst the local Orthodox Churches, the refusal of certain First Hierarchs to take part in the Synaxis to prepare the “all-Orthodox Sobor”, and more importantly, the fervent prayers of believers, following the teachings of Holy Fathers and Confessors of the 20th century condemning the putative Sobor as apostasy, could lead to a complete breakdown of the meeting, since all decisions at the Sobor and the Synaxis would be via consensus, and if any of the First Hierarchs were absent, that would render that impossible.
On 12 January 2016, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Sofia and all Bulgaria referred to the principle of consensus in making a number of conditions specifying their conditions for allowing Patriarch Neofit Dimitrov to take part in the meeting in Genève. In particular, the Synod stated that the lack of an agenda for the Synaxis and the likely presence at the said meeting of uncanonical representatives of the PCČZS/PCČKS (Orthodox Church of Czechia and Slovakia) is unacceptable. Apparently, they mean the so-called “Archbishop” Simeon Jakovlevič of Olomouc and Brno (supported by the EP), the pretender to the seat of First Hierarch Metropolitan Rastislav Gont of Prešov. Moreover, the Bulgarian Holy Synod declared the fundamental importance of the principle of consensus in the coming Synaxis, and that such consensus could only exist if the all the First Hierarchs of the Local Orthodox Churches are present.
In this connection, the Bulgarian Synod ruled that the Patriarch Neofit could only take part in the Genève meeting if “the Patriarch and the Holy Synod promptly receive the agenda of the meeting and if all outstanding disputes receive resolution before convoking the meeting in Chambésy”. Besides this, on 15 January, the Church of Athens and all Greece decided definitively that Archbishop Ieronymos Liapis wouldn’t take part in the upcoming Synaxis, sending instead a delegation consisting of Metropolitans Germanos Paraskevopoulos of Elis and Oleni, Chrysostomos Zafyris of Peristeri, and Chrysostomos Savvatos of Messinia. Orthodox media reported that amongst the reasons for this decision was pressure put on Archbishop Ieronymos… including political pressure… by the EP from the moment it became known that the First Hierarch of the Church of Greece wouldn’t be at this meeting.
17 January 2016