37. The Bishops’ Council approves the evaluation of the Council of First Hierarchs and bishops of ten Local Orthodox Churches which took place on the island of Crete from 18th to 26th June 2016 which is contained in the decision of the Holy Synod of 15th June 2016 (Journal no.48). This Council cannot be viewed as Ecumenical, and the decisions taken at it cannot be viewed as binding for the entire Orthodox Church since in the absence of the agreement of a number of Local autocephalous Orthodox Churches on holding the Council at a time early agreed upon the principle of consensus was violated. At the same time, we ought to recognize the Council on Crete as a significant event in the history of the Orthodox Church.
38. An analysis of the documents of the Council of Crete entrusted by the Holy Synod to the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission has shown that some of them contain unclear and ambiguous formulations, which does not allow us to consider them exemplary expressions of the truths of the Orthodox faith and the Church’s Tradition. This is especially true of the document on “The Relationships of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world,” which was not signed by two thirds of the members of the delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as by individual bishops of a number of other Local Churches which took part in the work of the Council on Crete, which testifies to a significant difference in opinion in relation to this document even among the participants of the Council of Crete.
39. The members of the Council note the ambiguous attitude towards the Council which took place on Crete among the family of the Local Orthodox Churches, noting the commentaries of the Holy Synods of the Patriarchates of Antioch (27th June 2016), Bulgaria (15th November 2016) and Georgia (22nd December 2016) which expressed a critical attitude towards the Council of Crete. Also, hierarchs of a number of other Local Churches and the Holy Koinotita and the monasteries of Mount Athos have also given detailed commentaries on the documents of the Council of Crete and its method of adopting decisions.
40. The Holy Council expresses the belief that the preservation and strengthening of the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church, independent of its position on the Council of Crete, is the common task of all the Local autocephalous Orthodox Churches, both those which took part in the Council on Crete as well as of those which abstained from taking part in it. The bolstering of inter-Orthodox cooperation acquires special importance in this regard.