The two-day conference, entitled “Religion in Contemporary World: Challenges and Prospects for Dialogue and Peace,” organised by Foreign Affairs The Hellenic Edition magazine and the University of Athens, was concluded on Tuesday afternoon.
The Ambassador of the United States to Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt, talked about the role of the U.S. as a guardian for freedoms and was highly acidic in his comments against Russia’s policy on church affairs.
Assistant Professor of the Department of Theology at the University of Athens, Archimandrite Aristarchos Grekas, gave a conference on the need to protect religious freedom. He stated, inter alia, that “key factors that pave the way for religious freedom violations are violent conflicts, poverty, inequality, weak or authoritarian state institutions, state religion or state atheism, and cultures of intolerance and exclusion.”
First Communication Adviser of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Georgios Spyridon Mamalos talked about the convergence of the Churches of Rome – Constantinople as a tangible example of religious diplomacy. “Ecumenical Patriarchs Athinagoras, Dimitrios and Bartholomew, who embodied the ecumenical dialogue, also had to cope with political situations, either international or domestic, that were assessing their ecumenical openings as opportunistic. It could now be said that Orthodoxy greatly benefited from the outward orientation initiated by Ecumenical Patriarch Athinagoras and continued actively by his successors, Dimitrios and Bartholomew,” the speaker emphasised.
Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Messinia talked about the religions and churches as agents of peace, reconciliation and solidarity. The Metropolitan said, inter alia, that “only dialogue between cultures, societies and religious communities can promote mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, tolerance, peace, coexistence, justice and pluralism.”