Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain, was elected on Monday, June 19, 2023, as the President of the Conference of European Churches (CEC). A Bishop of the Anglican Church Dr. Dagmar Winter and Priest Father Frank Kopania from the Protestant Church in Germany were elected also as Vice-presidents of the CEC.
Archbishop Nikitas is the coordinator of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Working Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, while he has served as President of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Committee on Youth, as well as Co-President and Member of the administrative committee of the “Elijah” Interfaith Dialogue Foundation. He also happens to be Co-President of the Catholic-Orthodox Forum of Europe.
After his election, the Archbishop stated that being a Christian means entering into dialogue with other people and other Christian Communities. “Yes, of course we have our differences, but we have so much in common: Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Nikitas emphasised and continued: “We must get to know each other, we must cooperate.”
For the Archbishop of Thyateira, being President of the CEC means being a shepherd of a flock. “When you are the president of an organisation, you deal with problems and numbers, but being the president of the CEC, it means you also have to work for people’s souls – and this gives me the opportunity to get to know CEC in a more meaningful way,” he said, adding, “above all, I want to build bridges and collaborative relationships.”
Archbishop Nikitas emphasised that many times there exists fear of the other person. “I want my relationships to be full of Christian love, truth and honesty,” he declared, adding: “I want to actively contribute to the stability of CEC services, its financial structure and relationships.”
“It is very important that more young voices are heard and that we bring young people to the CEC to learn how it works. We need to know what young people are thinking and feeling. We hear from so many people that churches and parishes are shrinking,” the new President pointed out.
Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain wants to revitalise these churches and give hope. “We cannot say that young people are the future of the Church, because they are the reality, they are the present”, he stressed.