The issue of Ukraine's autocephaly is to be declared later in Istanbul
The decade that changed the world - this is how the Pan-Orthodox Church Gathering is being called now. After ten days of negotiating and voting the patriarchs are said to finally declare their decision, although the results in whole are still unknown, since the meeting was closed to the media.
Those willing to unite the motley palette of orthodox Christianity achieved their goal. In turn those striving for further split simply ignored the event and did not come to Greece.
His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew has become the only acknowledged Orthodox leader, supported by the churches of Constantinople, Cyprus, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Romania, Greece, Albania, Czechia, Poland, and Serbia - the latter was considered to be loyal to Russia. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus' Kirill was supported in turn only by four patriarchates, that is Bulgarian, Georgian, and Antioch, dependent mainly either on Moscow patriarchate or on Syrian authorities, also loyal to Russia.
The most important decision though from Ukrainian position is recognizing the illegitimacy of the Act of 1686 according to which the Kyiv metropolitan was allegedly attached to the Moscow Patriarchate, confirmed by His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew.
The story started on a cozy island of Crete. There are no tourists or sandy beaches here, instead the camera fixes the Orthodox academy with an ancient monastery nearby. Several soldiers guard the building, though the main security forces are concentrated at the sea. The Pan-Orthodox Gathering unfolds here.
Numerous priests come followed by the police officers to pray in the church. His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew is the last to enter the church, afterwards the divine service is about to start. Neither media, nor cameramen are allowed to film the holy procedure.
On the first day of the meeting the journalists are allowed to watch the video broadcast, the cameramen may even enter the audience hall, though just for five minutes. Everything unfolding after the media comes out, is totally secret.
Daily press strictly follows the event. Though the recent Brexit is the top news, there still remains some space for the Orthodox Gathering, mainly about those ignoring the event and Ukraine's church autocephaly. At first they promise to announce the decision on Ukraine here, then refer to Istanbul where the final solution is to be met. All in all, this Gathering is necessary to end up with the so called orthodox fundamentalism. The priests unanimously allege the Church must exist for the people, not for a state or politicians.
This old man in a totally worn out cassock arrived here from France. His name is Nicholas, and he teaches at Orthodox academy in Paris. Nicholas does not belong to any delegation, saying he came here awaiting for the great changes to happen.