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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Humans are not only citizens of the world but also “heavenly citizens”

In the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and representatives of almost all Orthodox Churches, the opening of the International Scientific Conference of the Journal “Theologia” of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece was held on Wednesday 11 October 2023.

The Conference on “Orthodox Theology on the way to the ’immaterial reality’ of late modernity”, which is organised on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of this journal, began its work at the Metropolitan Church of Athens, on Wednesday afternoon, October 11.

At the invitation of the Holy Synod and its President His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, the following were also present: His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, President of the Hellenic Republic, Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, His Beatitude Archbishop Georgios of Cyprus, His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, Metropolitan Panteleimon of Naucratis, who represented His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria, His Eminence Metropolitan Ephraim of Berroia and Bishop Romanos of Seleucia, as representatives of the Patriarchate of Antioch, His Eminence Archbishop Nektarios of Antidon, and Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Athens, Raphael Grivas, as representatives of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

His Grace Bishop Ignatije of Braničevo represented the Church of Serbia and Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia. Archbishop Ciprian of Buzau and Vrancea and Fr. George Holbea represented the Church of Romania and Patriarch Daniel of Romania.

The Church of Bulgaria and Patriarch Neophyte of Bulgaria were represented by His Eminence Metropolitan Grigory of Vratsa, His Grace Bishop Polikarp of Belogradchik (Lefkoupolis) and Deacon Simeon Borisov Ivaylov.

The Church of Georgia and His Beatitude Patriarch Ilia of Georgia were represented by His Eminence Metropolitan Theodore of Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti (Chuadze), His Eminence Metropolitan Andrew of Gori and Ateni and Protopresbyter Father George Zviadadze. The Church of Poland was represented by Professors of Theology Jerzy Ostapczuk and Jerzy Betlejko.

In addition, the following heads of the Autonomous Orthodox Churches attended: His Eminence Archbishop Leo of Helsinki and All Finland, along with Deacon Andreas Salminen and Jelisei Heikkila. His Eminence Metropolitan Stefan of Tallinn and All Estonia, His Eminence Metropolitan Damaskinos of Kydonia and Apokoronas from the Semi-autonomous Church of Crete.

The Secretary of the Organizing Committee of the Conference and Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Theologia“, Mr. Alexandros Katsiaras, in his address spoke about the materialistic era we live in.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his greeting, among other things, pointed out: “The journal ‘Theologia’ enters the second century of its life, with the inheritance and legacy of its successful and creative course to date, its fidelity to the Orthodox tradition, the belief that humans are not only citizens of the world, but also ‘heavenly citizens’, who seek a benchmark on earth, just like culture, politics, science, economy, earthly bliss.

Neither the rise in living standards, nor social progress, nor scientific knowledge, fully cover and satisfy humans, who indeed shall not live “on bread alone” (Matthew 4: 4). Obviously, science is the ‘great power’ of our time. Great power, however, is also faith in God, which answers the deepest existential questions of humans. It is widely known that the dizzying progress of science is due to the fact questions had to be answered which are at the centre of philosophy and theology.”

The Ecumenical Patriarch underlined: “The topic of the Conference rightly reminds us that humanity is moving towards the ‘intangible reality of late modernity’. The discourse on ‘intangible reality’ refers to the set of new situations and challenges, which are associated with the dominance of the internet and the scientific and technological developments in our lives in general.

These change the way of life of individuals and peoples, control our desires and needs and lead humanity towards a re-evaluation of things. Nevertheless, no sane person can deny the many benefits of technology. Resistance to certain trends of technology does not in any way mean its total rejection.”


More photos: EUROKINISSI