A Christian Call in a Time of Crisis in Europe 9.7.2015
Cemes with a unanimous decision of its Executive Committee of July 9, 2015 joined as co-signatory the appeal for common ecumenical action
Respected ecumenical friends and partners in Europe, Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
In the spirit of the contemporary inter-Christian cooperation, churches have contributed to the development and establishment of a wider ecumenical spirit of reconciliation and collaboration – extremely necessary and significant for both Europe and the world. This spirit was particularly needed in challenging times, such as following the end of the World War ΙΙ and the rise of the divisive climate of the Cold War between the East and West. Since then, churches have worked to support a progressive, and sometimes even a radical Christian spiritual approach in addressing social, political, economic and environmental issues. In this spirit, as Christians and responsible citizens, we call the European churches, ecumenical organizations, religious institutions and various Christian movements in Europe to respond to our call to ensure a secure future of our common home by taking immediate actions.
The Greek crisis is a European crisis. Therefore we believe that only at the European level foundations for a sustainable and definitive solution to this problematic, injurious and particularly dangerous situation can occur. We encourage both the Greek government and the governments of the member states of the European Union to exhaust any margin of dialogue to reach an immediate agreement, ensuring equal participation of Greece in the Common Monetary Union, and leading up to a national economic recovery.
We recognize that the current adverse situation in our country is also relevant to the crucial issues related with the growth and development of particular political, economic and social systems during the political changeover, following the re-establishment of Democracy in 1974. Furthermore, we recognize that neither have we (as citizens and Orthodox Christians) risen to the occasion nor have done the self- reflection required. Today we are ready to recognize errors in our political and economic system and we take responsibility for our failures to overcome these unhealthy situations. However, we are concerned about the policies proposed by our partners, focused apparently on the need for reforms, without taking into consideration the systemic causes of the crisis, the debt crisis and the need to address the serious humanitarian consequences of the dysfunctional neoliberal policies applied in the recent years.
Despite our different political affiliations and interpretation of effective solutions, we all recognize that the position of Greece remains within the European family; a position that represents the overwhelming majority of Greek citizens. We call for actions that can ensure European identity of our country based on the principles of democracy, solidarity, social justice, dignity, mutual respect and implementation of the European principles. Based on these cornerstones of unity, cooperation and common progress of the European people, we invite you to work together in order to safeguard these values, because we recognize in these foundational principles common cultural, religious and humanistic inheritance of Europe. This inheritance must be preserved at all costs against powers that put our peaceful common path at serious risk; powers that impose the deification of the markets and aim to revive sad moments of the history of our continent.
Within this context, we welcome supportive statements by religious leaders and organizations. We appreciate especially comments of solidarity from His Holiness Pope Francis, pastoral letter of the distinguished members of the Presidium of the Conference of European Churches and the public interventions from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. We call upon all Christians of Europe, in a spirit of prayer and prophetic witness (martyria), to remind the European family, the greatest value of human beings against the value of the profit. We are experiencing an unfortunate revival of division and intense polarization across Europe, which taints the process of making political choices, traumatizes coexistence of our nations and stigmatizes people's hearts. In the midst of this dark reality, we firmly believe that churches of Europe must - and are able to - become bridges of cooperation and dialogue, as post-war history has proven. We are part of our common spiritual and cultural heritage and consequently co-responsible for our common future.
This Christian Call was signed among others by:
Vassiliadis Petros, Professor Emeritus of the Theological School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, President of the Center of Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies “Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou”
Saroglou Vassilis, Professor of Psychology at the Université catholique de Louvain, President of the Académie internationale des sciences religieuses
Zaxaropoulos Nikos Gr., Deputy Dean, Professor of Theology, Head of the Master’s Programme in Theology, Neapolis University in Cyprus
Stamoulis Chrysostomos, Professor of the Theological School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, President of the Department of Theology
Papageorgiou Niki Associate Professor of the Theological School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Tsompanidis Stylianos, Associate Professor of the Theological School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Kalaitzidis Pantelis, Dr. of Theology, Director, Volos Academy for Theological Studies, Volos, Greece
Papathanasiou Athanasios N., Dr. of Theology, Director of the Religious Journal “Synaxi”
Kasselouri-Hatzivassiliadi Eleni, Dr. of Theology, Lecturer at the Hellenic Open University
Nikiforos Dimitrios M.Th., Secretary General of the Center of Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies “Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou”
Papachristou Nikos-Giorgos, Religious editor of the Religious Site AMEN
Kosmidis Nikos, Former World Council of Churches Youth Commissioner, Political and ecumenical activist
Some photos from the inaugural session of the International Conference on DEACONESSES, ORDINATION OF WOMEN AND ORTHODOX THEOLOGY (22.1.2015)
Humble Theological Contribution to our Orthodox Church on Her Way to the 2016 Pan-Orthodox Council For the period 2014-2016 CEMES has launched a project in 3 steps: (a) An international conference on Deaconesses, (b) An international seminar on the Panorthodox Council, and (c) A series of lectures, a seminar and a symposium on "the union of all".
A. International Conference on DEACONESSES, ORDINATION OF WOMEN AND ORTHODOX THEOLOGY The conference is dedicated to Prof. Evangelos Theodorou, emeritus professor and former Rector of the University of Athens. The official inaugural part of the conference, honouring prof. Theodorou, will take place in Athens early in December 2014 to commemorate the 60 years of Orthodox theological investigation on the issue, whereas the main scientific part late in January 2015, and will be hosted by the Church of Cyprus.
B. International post-graduate/post-doctoral Seminar on THE WAY TO THE 2016 PAN-ORTHODOX COUNCIL: PRE-HISTORY, THEMES AND PROCEEDURAL PRINCIPLES TOWARD THE UNITY OF ORTHODOXY It will be conducted by Profs. Rev. Emmanuel Clapsis of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School, Boston, and George Martzelos and Stylianos Tsompanidis of CEMES and the University of Thessaloniki.
C. International Seminar and Symposium on ORTHODOXY AND INTER-CHRISTIAN AND INTER-FAITH DIALOGUE: HISTORY, DIFFICULTIES AND PROSPECTS FOR “THE UNION OF ALL”
A series of lectures by renowned Orthodox theologians from different ecclesiastical jurisdictions, an International Seminar, in both digital and conventional form, to be conducted in the premises of CEMES , and a concluding inter-Orthodox Symposium, on . The various events will be conducted with the final and concluding symposium scheduled on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 20 of the year 2016 by all high-ranking academics of CEMES with the co-operation of ecumenical centers and academies from both Greece and abroad, by all high-ranking academics of CEMES with the co-operation of ecumenical centers and academies from both Greece and abroad,
In the steps of Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Panteleimon. On the occasion of the gistoric meeting of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew, to commemorate the first meeting of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras 50 years ago, in 1964
A public event to honor the late Metr. Panteleimon and his assistants the late archimandrites Iakovos Pavlakis, Konstantinos Vambinis, Polycarp Mantza-roglou, Gregorios Michailidis, and Iakovos Pantelidis, at the invitation of Metropolitan Prokopios of Nea Krini and Kalamaria