The Interorthodox Centre in the Holy Metropolis of Belgium

On May 10th 2024, the scientific team of the Interorthodox Centre of the
Church of Greece had a meeting with His Eminence Metropolitan of Belgium
and Exarch of the Netherlands and Luxembourg Mr. Athenagoras in
Brussels.
The group consisting of: Mrs. Kalliopi Mavragka, Mr. Christos Nasios and
Mr. Sergios Voilas, after conveying the Resurrection wishes of the
Director of the Interorthodox Centre, His Eminence Metropolitan of
Thermopylae Mr. Ioannis, to His Eminence Metropolitan of Belgium Mr.
Athenagoras, informed him for the actions of the Centre in the context
of the implementation of European programs.
Also, the officials of the Interorthodox Centre informed His Eminence of
Belgium about the educational activities that the Interorthodox Centre
for more than a decade runs in the axis of educational activities, while
they duly announced its participation in a new European program
regarding interfaith dialogue and the peaceful coexistence of Abrahamic
religions within the framework of the European Union.
Subsequently, the perspective and participation of the Interorthodox
Centre in the “Committee of Representations of the Orthodox Churches to
the European Union” (CROCEU), whose President is, His Eminence the
Metropolitan of Belgium, was discussed.
Finally, the delegation of the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of
Greece had the blessing to discuss with His Eminence Mr. Athenagoras
about the historical testimony of Orthodoxy in Belgium and the
Netherlands and to be guided around the premises of the Holy Metropolis
of Belgium and the parish of Agia Marina. The meeting was also attended
by Archimandrite Father Emilianos Hatzivasiliou from the Holy Metropolis
of Belgium.

Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece in cooperation with the Program Directorate of “Apostoli” N.G.O. learning the Greek language

The local piloting with L2 learners of the ALL IN ERASMUS+ project in Athens was completed on the 6th of March 2024. The Program Directorate
of “Apostoli” N.G.O. gives the immigrants living in Athens
-irrespective of origin and religion, the opportunity to be acquainted
with the Greek language and to get familiar with the Greek civilization
so as to have easier access to the labor market and to improve their
lives. The piloting course was organized within the ALL IN Erasmus+ project. Mrs. Angela Metallinou and Mr. Yannis Kotsanas shared with the
students their experiences, techniques and methods in learning the Greek
language.

An educational activity presented by the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece to primary school teachers at the wider area of Corinthia

The Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece in collaboration with
the Education Advisor of the 3rd District of Corinthian Primary
Education, Mr. Ilias Geraris, organized an online educational meeting
with teachers of the 5th and 6th grade of the Primary Schools of the
area on the 20th of February 2024. The online event was welcomed and
blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis of Thermopylae, Director of
the Interorthodox Centre. The topic of the meeting was “Introduction to
Wikipedia and its educational uses” and was presented by the scientific
associate of the Interorthodox Centre Dr. Christos Nasios. The webinar
on writing Wikipedia entries was attended by a large number of primary
school teachers and at the end they all expressed their desire for
similar meetings to be held frequently live.

Religious communities – electronic and online media, the testimony of the Church of Greece through the actions of the Interorthodox Centre

Upon the invitation of the associate Professor Mrs. Angeliki Gazi, Mr. Sergios Voilas, the permanent scientific associate of the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece, gave a presentation and developed the subject “Religious communities & electronic & online media” in the context of the course “Introduction to Journalism” of the Department of Communication of Media & Culture of Panteion University on the 20th of December 2023. During the presentation, the students of Panteion University were given the opportunity to learn about the relations among various religious communities with the Media, both in our country and abroad. Also, the Radio Station of the Church of Greece 89.5 FM as well as the operation of the official website www.ecclesia.gr was presented and the work these media put in the field of information. Finally, the contribution on the matter of the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece via our website www.intero.gr and through social media was pointed out, with the ICCG being a bearer of dialogue, relation building and communication.

Annual meeting of the European Council of Religious Leaders – ECRL in Berlin

The European Council of Religious Leaders held its annual meeting in
Berlin from the 11th to the 13th of December 2023 with the theme:
“Religion as a dividing or a connecting factor in European societies and
communities”. The meeting took place at the Hotel Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Haus, which was named after the distinguished pastor and theologian
Dietrich Bonhoeffer who paid the ultimate price. He was executed by the
Nazis, for refusing to compromise with the Nazi regime, remaining true
to his moral principles, in religion, and in his Christian beliefs.
Permanent member of ECRL Council is His Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis of
Thermopylae, Director of the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of
Greece. This year, the main concern of the ECRL meeting was the
ever-increasing polarization and divisions in European societies –
communities, as well as what religious and inter-religious bodies could
do so as to contribute to strengthening stability and social harmony in
Europe but also beyond the European continent.
The ECRL strongly condemned Hamas and any act of terrorism that takes
the lives of innocent people. The participants expressed their
solidarity with all the innocent victims of the ongoing armed conflict,
both on the Israeli and Palestinian sides. At the same time, they called
for the immediate release of all hostages and an immediate ceasefire to
allow humanitarian aid to reach the suffering people.
At the same time, the ECRL Council reiterated its support for the
Ukrainian people and resistance to the Russian invasion, while deciding
to continue encouraging religious actors on all sides to support
Russia’s complete withdrawal from Ukrainian lands and creating a
sustainable road map for truth, justice, peace and reconciliation.
Mr. Sergios Voilas, as the permanent scientific associate, represented
the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece.

Interorthodox Centre, the Jewish Museum of Greece and Yahad-In Unum at the seminar “Local Aspects of the Holocaust in East and Southeast Europe”

The Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece, continuing its collaboration with the Jewish Museum of Greece and the organization Yahad-In Unum, participated in the educational seminar for teachers on the topic “Local Aspects of the Holocaust in East and Southeast Europe”, organized on the 23rd and the 24th of November 2023 in Athens. The Centre was represented by its scientific associate Dr. Christos Nasios, who addressed a short speech-greeting at the beginning of the sessions.

Interorthodox Centre at the 5th European Policy Dialogue Forum

The Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece participated in the 5th
European Policy Dialogue Forum held in Rotterdam November 13-15, 2023. At this
forum, keynote speaker was His Eminence Elder of Chalkidon Mr. Emmanuel,
who in his speech emphasized the need for solidarity and not passive
tolerance to the problem of immigrants, while he pointed out how
important the presence of young people is within religious communities.
Mr. Sergios Voilas, KAICIID Fellow Alumni representing Interorthodox
Center, presented the Centre’s participation in the Erasmus+ KA2 program
“DD@S – Democratic Dialogue at school” at the Forum’s Market Space of
Ideas parallel event. Also, during the conference Mr. Voilas had the
opportunity to present our new program which will be implemented by
Interorthodox Centre in collaboration with KAICIID and with one of the
Centre’s Scientific Associate Mrs. Kalliopi Mavragka, a KAICIID Fellow
Alumni, too.

Distinguished representatives of the Iranian University of Religions and Denominations visited the Interorthodox Centre.

In continuation with the meeting of His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Mr. Hieronymos II, a delegation of the University of Religions and Denominations of Iran, which is based in the city of Qom, visited the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece on Wednesday, November 8th, 2023. The distinguished representatives of the Iranian University expressed their interest for the actions of the Interorthodox Centre, how our library works and pointed out their interest in the prospect of a future cooperation on a scientific base. The Rector of the University Dr. Seyed Abdolhassan Navab referred to the historic relations between Christians and Muslims throughout the Middle East area and expressed his anguish for the severe situation in the Gaza Strip. The Scientific Associates of the Interorthodox Centre Christos Nasios, Sergios Voilas and Kalliopi Mavragka emphasized the academic and cultural relations between the two traditions, expressed their hope for a ceasefire in the long-suffering region and the immediate return of the hostages to their families, while noting that praying for the peace of the whole world is the only safe way to dialogue.

Afterwards, the delegation was guided to the library of the Interorthodox Centre by the librarian Irini Grypaiou where the meeting and the discussions went on.

The Rector of the Foundation was accompanied by Dr. Rahman Bolhassani, Vice Chancellor, Dr. Hamed Shah Rafati, Director General of International Relations, Dr. Gholi Tabar, Director of the Americas and Europe department, Dr. Mohammad Hossein Navab, Member of the Board of Directors of the University, Dr. Mohammad Hossein Taskhiri Head of International Relations, Dr. Mahdi Komi, Educational Counselor of the Iranian Embassy in Greece and the interpreter Mr. Ali Karaji. The delegation was also accompanied by Fr. Antonios Malouf from the Holy Archdiocese of Athens.

The Orthodox Theological Academy of Volyn at the Interorthodox Centre

A special delegation of the Orthodox Theological Academy of Volyn in
Ukraine had a two day visit in Greece from the 31st of October till the
2nd of November 2023. The Ukrainian delegation was hosted by the Church
of Greece at the Interorthodox Centre. Our scientific team gave a tour
guide at the premises of the Holy Monastery of Pendeli and the
Interorthodox Centre. The members of the delegation showed a particular
interest in establishing collaboration between the libraries of the
Volyn Academy and the Interorthodox Centre. The next steps for this
joint effort within the network of Church Libraries were also discussed,
as a continuation of the efforts that the Interorthodox Centre of the
Church of Greece makes on the matter.
The delegation of the Orthodox Theological Academy, which is based in
Lutsk in western Ukraine, is consisted of its Rector, Archpriest Dr.
Volodymyr Vakin, Professor of Canon Law, the Vice-chancellor, Head of
Education, Archpriest Dr. Vladyslav Fulmes, Professor of Church History,
Archimandrite and Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas
Zhydychyn, Dr. Konstantinos Marchenko, Pastoral Professor and the Head
of the Press Office of the Academy Archpriest Viktor Pushko, Professor
of Patrology.
The interpretation was provided by Mr. Vasyl Prus, a postgraduate
student at AUTH. The delegation was accompanied by Archimandrite
Seraphim Dimitriou.