On Wednesday, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and all Greece attended the Interdisciplinary Conference “Religions and Human Rights” organized by the Department of Social Theology of the School of Theology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
The opening of the conference took place in the Great Hall of the University. The Archbishop was accompanied by the Protosyncellus of the Archbishopric, the Bishop Symeon of Thespies. The conference was attended by the presidents of the departments, professors and students, the Deputy Director of the Pastoral Training Institute of the Archdiocese of Athens Archimandrite and Theologian Alexandrakis, clergy and people.
The Rector of the University and the President of the Department Sotiris Despotis welcomed the Archbishop, while Despotis read the welcome speech of the Ecumenical Patriarch.
In his welcome speech, the Archbishop stressed that the religious phenomenon is rooted in the beginnings of human societies, when they had not formulated, in writing or orally, yet in a systematic way the rules of law that arranged their lives. Religion has often been the womb that gave birth to what people later recognized as values. In the light of this evidence, the relationship between religion and human rights is very narrow and often bi-directional. The religious narrative referring to the great mysteries of life, life itself and death, gives meaning to human existence. In this sense, the human being expresses itself, asserts and protects this expression and complies with what God commands. So, as long as life is granted by a creator common to all, or a first reason, the religion raises and defines the idea that is later understood as a human right. On the other hand, the human being once appeared in the religious pantheon, where it created what it understood as a “human right”, creating gods in its image and likeness. So these principles governing cohabitation in a primitive community affect and shape the religion of this community.”
The conference will start this Thursday, and will end on Saturday.