CWN - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople celebrated the Divine Liturgy of Pentecost on June 19 to open the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church.
In recent weeks, four of 14 autocephalous Orthodox churches chose not to send delegations to the council.
“Our Orthodox Church has the supreme gift and blessing of possessing the treasure of truth and preserving intact the gift of the All-Holy Spirit, which 'has filled the whole world' (Wis. 1:7), and it is obliged to give the contemporary world a testimony of love and unity, and to reveal the hidden hope that lies within it,” he preached at the Cathedral of St. Minas in Heraklion, Crete.
“Regardless of our different opinions, we Orthodox Christians ought to point out that the only road on our course in this world is unity,” he continued. “Of course, this road demands a living sacrifice, much work, and is achieved after great struggle. It is certain that this Council of ours will contribute towards this direction by creating a climate of mutual trust and understanding through our meeting in the Holy Spirit and through an edifying and sincere dialogue.”