Europe

Pan-Orthodox synod in doubt amid inter-church wrangling

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 file photo, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians listens during an Epiphany ceremony at the Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey. Plans to bring together leaders of all the world's Orthodox churches for the first time in more than a millennium appear in jeopardy amid the wrangling over the meeting's agenda, with the Russian Orthodox Church warning that the gathering would make no sense if at least one church fails to attend. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, file)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 file photo, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians listens during an Epiphany ceremony at the Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey. Plans to bring together leaders of all the world's Orthodox churches for the first time in more than a millennium appear in jeopardy amid the wrangling over the meeting's agenda, with the Russian Orthodox Church warning that the gathering would make no sense if at least one church fails to attend. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Friday, May 27, 2016 file photo, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow arrives to the port of Dafni, at Mount Athos, Greece. Plans to bring together leaders of all the world's Orthodox churches for the first time in more than a millennium appear in jeopardy amid the wrangling over the meeting's agenda, with the Russian Orthodox Church warning that the gathering would make no sense if at least one church fails to attend. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic,file)

    FILE - In this Friday, May 27, 2016 file photo, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow arrives to the port of Dafni, at Mount Athos, Greece. Plans to bring together leaders of all the world's Orthodox churches for the first time in more than a millennium appear in jeopardy amid the wrangling over the meeting's agenda, with the Russian Orthodox Church warning that the gathering would make no sense if at least one church fails to attend. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic,file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 file photo, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians listens during an Epiphany ceremony at the Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey. Plans to bring together leaders of all the world's Orthodox churches for the first time in more than a millennium appear in jeopardy amid the wrangling over the meeting's agenda, with the Russian Orthodox Church warning that the gathering would make no sense if at least one church fails to attend. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, file)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 file photo, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians listens during an Epiphany ceremony at the Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey. Plans to bring together leaders of all the world's Orthodox churches for the first time in more than a millennium appear in jeopardy amid the wrangling over the meeting's agenda, with the Russian Orthodox Church warning that the gathering would make no sense if at least one church fails to attend. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, file)  (The Associated Press)

Plans to bring together leaders of all the world's Orthodox churches for the first time in more than a millennium appear in jeopardy amid wrangling over the meeting's agenda.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has been the driving force behind efforts to convene the pan-Orthodox synod, set to be held later this month on the Greek island of Crete. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who ranks as "the first among equals" hoped the gathering of church leaders could promote unity.

However, its fate now appears in doubt after the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has declared its refusal to attend citing differences over the agenda, including documents planned for signing. The Ecumenical Patriarchate said Wednesday, however, that no church has yet notified that they will not be participating.