Curtain falls on historic church council


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.