Held 11-19 October 2018 peace visit of Patriarch John of Antioch within the Serbian Patriarchate, the two primates of the fraternal local Orthodox Churches, his Beatitude Patriarch John of Antioch and his Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia issued a joint statement, reports patriarhiei.
The bishops stressed that the visit came in the context of difficult and painful circumstances that are now the faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Syria, Lebanon and the middle East, and pan-Orthodox crisis, quickly developing events which can result in long splits in the Orthodox Church.
During the course of the visit of the fraternal discussions in a spirit of peace, love, trust and openness were discussed ways of reducing the depth of the crisis and ways of achieving unity and consensus among the local Orthodox churches. The dialogue was based on genuine ecclesiologically basis that is different from unilateral acts aimed at achieving private interests.
Based on similar historical experience of the Churches of Serbia, and Antioch, in order to develop evidence in the modern world, the Patriarchs noted the ongoing efforts of the Serbian Church in preservation of its historical, spiritual and cultural heritage, especially in Kosovo and Metohija, which are considered to be the birthplace of Serbian Orthodoxy.
With sorrow noting the ongoing killing of civilians, terrorist attacks, forced immigration and various forms of political and social instability in the Middle East, the heads of the Churches stressed that the flock of the Patriarchate of Antioch lives on these lands for over 2000 years and is not a national minority, and native, an integral part of the historical social fabric of the countries in the region and intends to live and maintain a Christian testimony on the earth. It is deemed important to provide any form of support Antiochian Orthodox Church in Her saving mission in the middle East. Through the peaceful resolution of the conflict recognized the path of peaceful, open dialogue and equal rights for everyone, peaceful coexistence and take into account religious diversity.
The parties once again urged the world community at the international and regional levels to draw attention to the fate of missing five years ago, two Christian bishops from Aleppo, in order to achieve their release and return to his flock.
Serbian and Antiochian Churches regret that the dispute between Antioch and Jerusalem Patriarchates have not yet resolved and were not timely reviewed by all the local Orthodox churches.
Serbian and Antiochian Churches have expressed great concern about threatening the local Orthodox Churches in our days, the dangers of separation that is the result of unilateral decisions that have an impact on the consensus and fraternal relations between the churches.
Therefore, the two Churches confirm that strengthening unity of the Orthodox Church is of great importance. This unity is expressed through collegiality, consultation and decision-making on the basis of the canonical order and consensus among the Orthodox churches. Therefore, it was witnessed that the essential matters, particularly the granting of autocephaly, should be resolved through pan-Orthodox discussions and consensus.
The hierarchs consider the situation in Ukraine as a result of actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the threat is able to cause long-term division in the Orthodox Church. Therefore, given the urgent need to prevent further escalation of the current crisis, the Serbian and Antiochian Patriarchs called on the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, to restore fraternal dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church to the fraternal aid and the participation of all heads of local Orthodox Churches to resolve the conflict between Constantinople and Moscow Patriarchates.
The sides agreed to implement in the near future peace visit Patriarch Irinej of Serbia in the canonical Patriarch of Antioch.