Yesterday the two-day conference by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Religious and Ecclesiastic Diplomacy was completed.
During the second day of the conference, the speakers referred to the role of the Church in the safeguarding of human life and dealing with the refugee problem.
Firstly, Metropolitan Ioannis of Zambia analyzed the theme “Church and peace-building” and then the Archimandrite Aristarchos Gekas, professor at the Higher Ecclesiastic Academy of Athens (HEAA) presented his contribution entitled “The contribution of religion to the prevention of warfare”.
Mr. Ioannis stressed that “during the era after the Cold War, the value of identity, religion and civilization was enhanced, and in this frame there emerged the need to understand religion’s role at a global level.
He also argued that “the Orthodox Church, on the basis of the theological background and its tradition, contributes to the theological dialogue and the support of initiatives, not only for the prevention of armed conflicts but also for the enhancement of the harmonious co-existence of the peoples. Τhe Circular of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church (Crete, 2016), calls attention to the danger that religious fundamentalism entails as an expression of morbid religiosity”.
Analyzing the chapter of the practices and the initiatives by religious personas that contribute to the prevention of warfare, Archimandrite Aristarchos Gekas-professor at HEAA, argued that “in today’s ‘globalized’ world, it is evident that the impact of religion is increasing, but with ambiguous results. Religion is proclaimed as an important factor in global developments and can contribute even more to the prevention of warfare. Of crucial role in these attempts are the religious leaders that believe in dialogue and the effective enhancement of freedom of religion which is the prerequisite for the prevention of warfare”.
According to ANA-MPA, professor Apostolos Nikolaides, Dean of the Theological School HEAA, spoke of “the contribution of the Church to coping with the refugee problem” and Hercules Moskov, national rapporteur, of “the fight against human trafficking”.
Among other contributors, Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agios Vlasios who spoke of the State’s “strategic” on religious matters outside Greece”, Metropolitan Gabriel of Ionia and Philadelfia on the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Switzerland and its contribution to ecclesiastic diplomacy, and Metropolitan Andreas of Arkalohori, Kastelli and Viannos, professor at the Theological School, University of Thessaloniki, on the relations among the ethnarch Church and the Nation, between 19th and 20th century”.
Furthermore, Archpriest Nikolaos Gourdoupis, Director of Religious Service of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS) contributed his presentation entitled “Religious Military Service and Diplomacy” and Marina Kolovopoulou, professor at the Theological School HEAA spoke about the contribution of education to the religious and ecclesiastic diplomacy.
Yesterday, rabbi Gabriel Negrin gave a speech entitled “The Jewish presence over the centuries in Greece as an example of religious stability”.
Concerning inter-religious diplomacy, Mr. Negrin stressed that “the Jews in Greece, as a par excellence healthy integration, have adjusted as far as possible to the Greek identity at times.