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Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, at the briefing for mass media gave comments on the decisions of the Holy Synod, reminding the journalists the Procedure of the Council which says that the Patriarchate of Constantinople convenes the Council with consent of all Local Orthodox Churches. ‘Consent was not reached at the Synaxis in January because the Church of Antioch did not sign the decisions. We do not have it now either as the three Churches refused to take part in the Council. A possible convocation of the Council will infringe the Procedure because the Pan-Orthodox Council should be convened with consent of all Orthodox Churches.

‘Therefore we will propose the Patriarchate of Constantinople to hold the Pan-Orthodox Council at another time and, if such decisions is taken, to use this period for the solution of the problems which have accumulated so far and for worthy preparation for the Council.”

As to a sometimes heard opinion that the refusal of certain Local Churches to participate in the Council will not prevent its holding and its decision which would be obligatory for all Churches, Metropolitan Hilarion said: ‘It does not work that way. All Churches should participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council, and only in that case its decisions will be legitimate.’