Reply to Reply #39-
Good question; the answer is considered by some, debatable. Being that the Ecumenical Synods promulgated doctrine and disciplinary canons, the Church has not felt the need to meet in an Ecumenical Synod. There have been Synodical meetings, that can be considered substantial in terms of what was put forward, but doctrinal issues were not considered at them. Bishop Kallistos of Diocleia, in his book "The Orthodox Church," identifies these synodical meetings and even some Patriarchal Encyclicals as having substantial standing. However, my opinion, in response to your inquiry, is that you've touch on one of the failings of the Orthodox Church today. Since 1923, the Church has been working toward the convening of what the Church refers to as "The Great and Holy Council (Synod) of the Orthodox Church." In the 1980's, a number of pre-conciliar meetings had met, under the auspices of the Orthodox Center in Chambasay (sp), Switzerland, which is under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in an effort to come to a consensus about the agenda topics, which were initially drafted in the early 1960's at the Pan-Orthodox Conferences on the island of Rhodes. The agenda was later scaled down. Again, doctrinal matters are not being considered. Perhaps, the disputes between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Russia, are what has stalled the pre-conciliar process. I've heard nothing about this process in the last decade. It does seem, because of the need to reach consensus in Orthodox practice, it is difficult to address the pressing issues confronting the Church, such as the non-canonical overlapping of canonical jurisdictions in the regions beyond those territories of the Autocephalos Churches, such as we're experiencing here in America. An example, though, of an action that was conducted with only a minimal attempt at conciliar action, was the conversion by the Church of Greece, in 1924, to the "revised Julian Calendar." Despite other Churches having followed the Church of Greece, the Orthodox Church worships under two calendars (except for during Great Lent and the Pascal cycle), "some feast while others fast," as the Old Calendarists, rightly say. Having said this, I think most of leadership of the Church believes it can meet in an ecumenical synod, but hasn't been able to do so, as yet. Never-the-less, Patriarch Bartholomew has convened pan-Orthodox synodal conclaves to address pressing administrative problems in the various Churches, such as in regard to the Churches of Bulgaria, Cyprus and Jerusalem, in the past decade.