TAGS: Religion

The historic gathering of Orthodox Church leaders that began last weekend on the island of Crete came to an end Sunday. The Holy and Great Council – the first such meeting of church leaders since AD 787 – was called by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians, in a bid to promote unity. However, the council was not attended by the churches of Antioch, Bulgaria, Georgia and Russia, while the absence of Moscow Patriarch Kirill was seen as a show of defiance against Vartholomaios’s leadership.