An unexpected development occurred during the Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches and its preparatory meetings held at the Headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul from March 6 to 9, 2014. The delegation of the Antiochian Patriarchate raised the conflict between the Antiochian and the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem over the matter of their jurisdiction over Qatar. As a result the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch has decided to :
“1. Withdraw its delegation from the Synaxis of the Primates of Churches, held in Constantinople between the 6th and the 9th of March, 2014, and suspend putting its signature on its closing statement until a resolution for the crisis is reached.
2. Not participate in the closing Divine Liturgy service which will be held on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, as an expression that Orthodox unity cannot be realized under the violation of one Church the canonical boundaries of a Sister Church, and her refusal to acknowledge the agreement which took place through the good and loving care of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
3. Raise the issue again in the meeting of the Antiochian Holy Synod meeting which will be held on March 27, 2014, in order to take the measures which the Synod consider appropriate, taking into consideration the recent situation.”
After this development, many believe that this is the first big obstacle that the Greek Orthodox Churches have to face on their way to the realization of the Great Synod which is planned to be held in 2016.
In its announcement, the Antiochian Patriarchate states that “Despite all the efforts made by His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Antiochian delegation with His Beatitude, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, failed to meet any of these efforts. In addition, as the Church of Jerusalem continues to insist on establishing a diocese and elevating a bishop over it within the canonical boundaries of the Patriarchate of Antioch, despite the admission of the majority of Orthodox Churches of the rectitude of the Antioch’s position and as the Patriarchate of Jerusalem refuses any solution to this crisis, we withdraw our delegation from the Synaxis.”