Pan-Orthodox synod in doubt amid inter-church wrangling

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.