21 July 2008, 10:09
London, July 21, Interfax - The world's Anglican bishops or the so-called Lambeth Conference opened their once-a-decade summit this weekend in Canterbury, England.
About 200 bishops are boycotting the forum as they protest against liberal tendencies in the Anglican community.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams opened the gathering and greeted all its participants and observers from the Roman Catholic Church, local Orthodox Churches and various Protestant denominations.
Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia conveyed his message to the forum. He said that all its participants "bear great historical responsibility," as they have to "decide between traditional, Biblical interpretation of Christian morals and the tendency, which takes sin and permissiveness for demonstration of love and tolerance."
According to the Russian Church primate, decisions taken at the Lambeth conference "are extremely important for the entire Christian world as further relations between Christian Churches and Anglican community largely depend on them."
Outcome of the Lambeth Conference is especially meaningful for the Russian Orthodox Church, the patriarch said, as the history of its contacts with Anglicans dates back to the 16th century and "was traditionally warm and full of mutual understanding."
The Lambeth Conference runs to August 4 and observers believe is can result in schism of the Anglican Church.
"Anglican Community is on the verge of splitting. In fact, the schism has almost formed and two hundred lacking bishops is eloquent of it," Russian Orthodox Church observer Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria told an Interfax-Religion correspondent.
According to him, many Anglican bishops from Africa, including all Nigerian bishops, decided to boycott the Lambeth Conference to show their protest against liberal tendencies in the Anglican Church.
"Anglican schism reflects the situation in the whole Christian world. Polarization between traditional and liberal versions of Christianity becomes more definite and today the Anglican Church is to decide between the two options," Bishop Hilarion said.
"Unfortunately, he concluded, the choice has been made and recent decision of the Anglican General Synod to consecrate women-bishops proves it."
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