2013july15gen

The representatives of the 14th General Meeting of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) met in Budapest, Hungary between 3–8 of July. The General Assembly takes place every five years and was participated by 230 representatives of Christian denominations (Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants), 24 representatives from organizations and 30 observers. Orthodox Churches participated with representatives from the member Churches of the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Romania, Serbia and the Churches of Cyprus, Greece, Albania, Estonia and Finland. The Church of Cyprus was represented with a four member team led by Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis and Archimandrite Benedict Ioannou, Deacon Nektarios Ioannou and theologist Mrs Mikaella Pavlou.

The 14th General Assembly of CEC was devoted to the enactment of its new, revised charter. The Orthodox Churches which organised a joint inter–Orthodox preparatory meeting in Athens (19 - May 22, 2013) requested the mandatory representation of Orthodox with 25% on the board of the new CEC, as well as on matters to be decided by consensus. Among the important changes made with the new Charter of CEC is the merge of Churches in Dialogue Committee with Church and Society Committee, in order to create a new more flexible and efficient CEC. It was also decided that the transfer of the headquarters of CEC from Geneva to Brussels must be completed no later than December 2015.

In the end and after the new charter was voted the new twenty–member Governing Council was proposed and elected from the representatives of the churches. The Orthodox Church is represented on the council with Metropolitan Emanuel of France (Ecumenical Patriarchate), His Grace Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis (Church of Cyprus), Archimandrite Ignatios Sotiriadis (Church of Greece), the Bishop Joseph of Western and Central Europe (Patriarchate of Romania) and Mrs. Julija Vidovic (Church of Serbia). The new council met immediately after its election and elected Anglican Bishop of Guildford Mr. Christopher Hill as its new president, while Metropolitan Emanuel of France was elected in one of the two vice–president positions of the council.

In the joint press release CEC refers to the conflict situation in Syria and persecution of Christians. Notable is the reference to the unjust detention of His Eminence Archbishop John of Ahrid and finally to the continuing violation of religious freedom in the northern part of Cyprus by the occupying forces (conservation of monuments, divine liturgies).

 

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