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DROMANTINE: Orthodox Primates Refuse Joint Eucharist with Griswold

Day One of the Primates Meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland

By David W. Virtue

NEWRY, Northern Ireland (2/21/2005)--A winter chill that brought flurries of snow to Ireland yesterday also blew through the assembled archbishops of the Anglican Communion meeting at the Dromantine Center, a Roman Catholic monastic retreat where 35 Primates, leaders of 78 million Anglicans are gathered, to weigh their future together as a communion.

The chill turned icy when orthodox primates of the Global South refused to celebrate the Eucharist in the presence of ultra-liberal American Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold. As a result Irish Primate Robin Eames announced that his chaplain would offer Eucharist and be the celebrant to anyone who wanted it. None of the Global South bishops showed up.

"We would not celebrate the Eucharist at the same altar with Griswold," a Primate told VirtueOnline.

The atmosphere is anything but positive, said a source. Camps are forming and it is going to be very difficult for Dr. Rowan Williams the Anglican Church's titular head to find points of contact between the two groups.

Already the agenda for the occasion has been called into question.

The liberals, lead by US Presiding Bishop wanted to launch in on the "issues" - HIV/AIDS, Third World poverty and more - an agenda put together by the liberal Anglican Communion Office, but Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola interjected saying "how can we talk about the issues, we need to have reconciliation between brothers before anything else."

The Africans won a victory on the agenda issues being controlled by Western liberals, VirtueOnline was told. It is being handled one day at a time. The agenda is evolving day by day only with the approval of the global South. The planned service at the cathedral on Tuesday for a photo op with journalists will be decided in the next 24 hours. The message is clear, do the orthodox primates want to be photographed with ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold?

When an Anglican primate was asked if the photo op would take place, he said, "The agenda will be set in the morning by all of the Primates and not just by non-primates, specifically the Anglican Communion office who planned the meeting."

The Global South primates will not participate in anything they do not agree with, VirtueOnline was told. The time for "listening" is over. They are very conscious of the way they were manipulated by the former head of the ACO Canon John Peterson and they have vowed not to let that happen again.

The Global South Primates have never been as strong and unified as this, said a source. "They are altogether."

The meeting is no longer being controlled by the Anglican Consultative Council. It is the primates meeting and they are in control, said another source.

Three Primates are absent. Archbishop Peter Kwong (Hong Kong) has serious heart problems. The daughter of the Archbishop of Burundi Samuel Ndeysienga died recently and Northern India Zechariah James Terom also could not attend for unspecified reasons.


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