Interreligious dialogue and Democracy

Representing the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece, Mr.
Sergios Voilas, permanent research associate, and on the occasion of
combating Antisemitism and Islamophobia phenomena and how and to what
extent they are affecting our modern democracies, on the 11th of
February 2023 presented in a special workshop – training that took place
in Athens, the important role that religious leaders play in
interreligious dialogue and the significance of dialogue for the
resolution of social conflicts.
In particular, material from the Combat Antisemitism Movement was
presented on the issue of contemporary Antisemitism, while on phenomena
of Islamophobia, how peaceful coexistence works in the region of Thrace
and the important role of local Hierarchs was highlighted with examples.

This workshop on democracy and dialogue issues was organized by the
Signal researching and confronting the far right and was attended by
secondary and primary school teachers, as well as teachers from Second
Chance Schools, psychologists and workers in refugee shelters.

State of the art of language learning- Erasmus+KA2

“Educating linguistically means not only educating to languages and their learning, but above all educating to learn codes and the many (infinite) symbolic forms of which a human being can equip himself: it is ultimately an education to language in its plurality” (Simone, 1976).
To explore and value “plurality” is indeed one of the main goals of this project that put together organization and univer- sities from four different European countries (Italy, Germany, Greece and Spain) to better understand the needs of migrants learning the language of their host country. The organization involved all have years of experience and previ- ous contacts with migrants living in their local communities. These expertise were crucial to bring about a field-research on the weaknesses and strengths of the learning process.

Data were gathered through interviews with adult learners (Semi-structured one-to-one interviews or focus groups) and teachers and professionals working in the field of migration. The interviews wanted to profile L-2 learners to be able to differentiate the needs and interest depending on their migra- tory background, educational background, and dreams and aspirations.
On the other hand, the interviews with workers of the field enabled to map the integration and education policy of the countries involved.
These data will be elaborated and collected in the creation of useful guidelines that will be available for all and the starting point for further research.

LTTA Siena

The Language Teaching Training Activity (LTTA) organised by the University for Foreigners of Siena from 28 to 30 Sep- tember 2022, aimed to create a link between 3 apparently distant but very connected themes: sport, immigration and languages. In recalling Europe’s attention to these 3 topics, the LTTA in Siena (Italy) has provided some proposals by referring to pedagogical, sociological studies and above all to educational linguistic activities. The LTTA took place over 3 days corresponding to specific thematic areas: Sports as a tool for inclusion in migratory contexts; Language of sport and teaching practices; Playful teaching and language games in sports.
Through the training, we provided theoretical and applicative bases in line with the topics analysed. Participants have been language teachers from Spain, Greece, Germany and Italy, which allowed them to learn about innovative and motivating L2 playful activities.
Furthermore, the Training was very useful because it allowed partipants to discuss the values of sport not only as a social prac- tice but also as a tool for linguistic and cultural education as well as a strategic tool for social inclusion and health maintenance.

TPM Cham

The Transnational Project Meeting (TPM) welcomed by the organisation VHS has taken place on 3 and 4 November in Cham (Germany) . In this occasion, the partners have discussed together about the next steps of the ALL IN proj- ect, starting from the useful Guidelines which will help language teachers to improve the learning for adults.
During the 2-days meeting there was a great exchange on the different need assesments of the partners countries. This integrated approach has been very useful to strengthen the impact of the project and to share good practices already implemented at local level in the language teaching.
The next step will be the LTTA in Athens on February 2023, on which teachers will meet again to improve their informal methods on language teaching.

Can we teach about Holocaust in connection with other Genocides? The Greek case

Dr Christos Nasios, a scientific associate of the Interorthodox Centre, participated with a presentation at the European seminar for teachers organized by Yahad-In Unum and the Mémorial de Caen Museum on the Holocaust with Bullets and other genocides, from 18-20 November 2022 in Paris and Caen. The seminar was attended by teachers from 11 European countries and Dr Nasios presented the topic “Can we teach about Holocaust in connection with other Genocides? The Greek case”. Yahad-In Unum is an organization founded in 2004 by father Patrick Desbois to research and document the mass executions of Jews on the Eastern Front during World War II (Holocaust by Bullets), and other genocides such as the Roma, Yazidi and Guatemalan indigenous people as well. It also organizes training seminars for teachers on these issues in various European countries, including Greece, with the support of the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece.

The International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Anglicans and the Orthodox at the Interothodox Centre

The International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Anglicans and the Orthodox met in Athens from 7 to 14 October 2022, hosted by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, at the Interothodox Centre of the Church of Greece of the Holy Monastery of Penteli.
The Commission is grateful for the hospitality and welcome received on behalf of Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All of Greece and Metropolitan Ioannis of Thermopylae, Abbot of Penteli Monastery.
The Commission has launched discussions on organ donation and intends to continue examining this issue at its next meeting.
As in previous meetings, the Commission’s work was based on daily prayer and worship. The members of the Committee attended the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Monastery of Penteli, where they remembered the life and contribution to the Dialogue of the former members of the Committee who died this year, the late Metropolitans Kallistos of Dioclea, and Ilia of Philomelion.
The Committee visited the Anglican Church of St. Paul in Athens where they were received by the Head, Canon Leonard Doolan, and the British Ambassador to Greece, Matthew Lodge. The Commission also visited the seat of the Archdiocese of Athens, where they were welcomed by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All of Greece.

Philos Progect at the Interorthodox Centre

The Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece hosted from 1st – 3rd October 2022 the international meeting of the “Philos Project”. Representatives from the Christian communities of the Middle East gathered in Pendeli, discussed and planned activities to enforce the Christian minorities in this region. The Director of the Interorthodox Centre Metropolitan Ioannis of Thermopylae addressed a short speech to the participants. In the meeting, among others, Archimandrite Iakovos Andriopoulos took part, also Robert Nicholson Executive Director of Philos Project, Endy Zemenides Executive Director of Hellenic American Leadership Council and Dr. Christos Nasios Scientific Assistant of the Interorthodox Centre. The attendees had the opportunity to receive a special guide to the Holy Monastery of Pendeli and also visited the Monastery of Dafni and followed the steps of Apostle Paul in ancient Corinth.

Global Exchange on Religion in Society (GERIS)

GERIS Network members visited Morocco to learn about how religious pluralism is managed in the local context. The purpose of the visit was for the participants to hold interactive discussions with local stakeholders, explore local projects and learn best practices. GERIS exchange visit is focusing on “Diversity through Education: Fostering pluralism and respect for diversity through education”.
On behalf of the Interorthodox Centre, Mr. Sergios Voilas, the permanent scientific associate participated in the visit which took place in Morocco from the 29th of May until the 5th of June 2022.
Global Exchange on Religion in Society (GERIS) is a two-year project of networking, societal capacity building and social media engagement. The project aims to contribute to social inclusion and societal resilience by setting up a global community-based exchange initiative. Through this action, the European Union is setting up a network of civil society actors, whether secular or faith based, to connect their experiences of coexistence among people of different faiths, and none, in societies across the globe.  Through the creation of GERIS Network, the EU also wants to explore a specific model for engaging these actors working on a range of societal issues. The project objective is building an exchange platform to contribute to the global conversation on diversity, coexistence, and social inclusion in society, on civic engagement and a more active, participatory, and shared sense of citizenship across boundaries of belief and worldviews”.  

DD@S, Democratic Dialogue at school, a new Erasmus+ project

The DD@S project believes in the strength of dialogue to tackle intolerance and discrimination at school to stimulate inclusive education all over Europe. Therefore, this project contributes in the professional development of teachers to acquire effective dialogue skills to cope with ethnic, religious and multicultural conflict situations at school.

A gamification based online training in democratic dialogue, a toolkit with tools and good practices including content managed system and guide to help teacher teams in developing their own specific training cases, teacher modules and a guide for implementation and policy recommendations will be organized and implemented to tackle this challenge.
Learn more about our project HERE

The Theology of ‘Returning’: An Interfaith Discussion on the Holidays of Easter and Passover

Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) and Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece co-hosted an interfaith Zoom dialogue featuring a panel of Greek Orthodox and Jewish clergy discussing the theology of “returning,” as it relates to the holidays of Easter and Passover.

Speakers included his Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis of Thermopylae, Director of the Interorthodox Centre, Chief Rabbi of Athens Gabriel Negrin, Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin of Temple Israel in Florida, Rabbi Daniel Polish of Congregation Shir Chadash in New York, Chief Coordinator of the Interorthodox Centre Mr. Sergios Voilas, Scientific Assistant of the Interorthodox Centre Dr. Christos Nasios, and CAM Partnerships and Diplomatic Outreach Coordinator Ms. Catherine Szkop. His Eminence Metropolitan of Messinia Mr. Chrysostomos was not able to participate live and Mr. Sergios Voilas presented the speech His Eminence had prepared.

The Christian and Jewish communities both emphasize the “return” to religious practice and celebrate emancipation on Easter and Passover, albeit through different beliefs and customs.

The panel participants discussed this, as well as the connections between Easter and Passover and Pentecost and Shavuot.

A full recording of the event can be viewed here:

Faith-Based Leadership in a Turbulent World

Ms. Kalliopi Mavragka and Mr. Sergios Voilas – scientific team of the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece participed in the Executive program “Faith-Based Leadership in a Turbulent World” May 2-6, 2022 organized by The Fletcher School – Tufts University and the Foreign Affairs Institute of Athens.
The aims of the project were to integrate the organic knowledge and teachings of the Orthodox faith with contemporary applied and technical skills for leadership in a complex local, international, and transnational environment. This gathering represented an opportunity to reflect on the complexity of faith-based leadership in today’s global context, to learn from experts and peers while exploring our own journey and goals as leaders.
Also a Special Reception was given in honor of the participants in the “Faith-Based Leadership in a Turbulent World” program which was hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Athens at the American School of Classical Studies, Athens.

The Combat Antisemitism Movement at the Interorthodox Centre

On Wednesday the 23rd of March 2022 we had the pleasure to meet and
welcome the first official delegation of the Combat Antisemitism Movement at our premises at the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece. CAM Senior Advisor and Center for Jewish Impact Chairman Robert Singer and CAM Partnerships and Diplomatic Outreach Coordinator Catherine Szkop CAM met with His Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis of Thermopyle, Director of the Interorthodox Centre, alongside with the
scientific team consisted of Christos Nasios and Kalliopi Mavragka.

The agenda was focused on the importance of education in the fight against antisemitism, as well as the need for person-to-person encounters to familiarize young Greeks with members of the Jewish
community. The CAM delegation expressed their deep gratitude to the Interorthodox Centre of the Church of Greece for its commitment to building bridges between the Hellenic and Jewish peoples, and their
anticipation for a meaningful relationship between the two organizations moving forward, something that will benefit the collective effort against Jew-hatred.

We look forward to future collaboration and joint projects!