The Holy Metropolis of Pisidia organised an International Scientific Conference in Antalya on 15-17 January 2024 with the theme: “The Apostle Paul in Antalya. Memory. Testimony.” under the high patronage of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
This conference was made possible through the fruitful collaboration of several illustrious institutions and universities: the National and Kapadostrian University of Athens, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the University of Balamand, the École Pratique des Hautes Études of Paris, the University of Fribourg, the Institute of Post-Graduate Studies of Orthodox Theology of Chambésy, the University of Lausanne, the University of Louvain, the Theological School of Halki, the Vlatadon Monastery with the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies, the Volos Academy for Theological Studies, as well as local institutions: the Akdeniz University of Antalya, the Asia Minor Research Center in Antalya and the Research Centre for Mediterranean Civilizations, Koç University (AKMED) which generously hosted the event in his auditorium.
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew arrived in Antalya on the eve of the opening of the conference. After having venerated the icons in Saint Alypios’ church in the old town of Antalya, he visited the ancient Christian basilica of the Virgin Mary, built in the 6th century, and known today as the Kesik Minare Mosque, where he was warmly welcomed by the Mufti Ishak Göksel and the local imams.
The conference was inaugurated on 15 January in the morning in the presence of Mr. Vural Korkmaz, director of external affairs of the Muratpasa-Antalya municipality, representing the Mayor, as well as of Mr. Oleksandr Voronin, Consul General of Ukraine in Antalya, who offered greetings. His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew then delivered the inspiring inaugural lecture focusing on the universal character of Christianity and of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
His Eminence Metropolitan Job of Pisidia presented a paper on Saint Paul and the late Metropolitan of Pisidia Sotirios Trambas, author of a touching book entitled Paul, the Apostle of the Nations, published in 2013 in Athens by the Publishing Company “En Plo” and now translated into several languages. Metropolitan Sotirios had a great admiration for the figure of the Apostle of Nations and his pastoral work in the Antalya region was crowned in 2022 by the construction and dedication of the church of Saint Paul in Side-Manavgat.
His Eminence Metropolitan Job of Pisidia underlined that the aim of the conference was to honour in an academic manner both the Apostle of the Nations as the founder of the Church of Pisidia as well as his immediate predecessor for his great pastoral and missionary work.
The conference was enriched by numerous erudite contributions of exegetes (Deacon Œcumenius Amanatidis, Dr. Jason Borges, Prof. Regis Burnet, Prof. Simon Butticaz, Fr. Jack Khalil, Prof. Mark Wilson) and archeologists (Prof. Gul Isin and Prof. Aytas Dönmez, who guided a tour on the archeological site of Perge), theologians who offered a contemporary reflection on the writings of Saint Paul (Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia, Metropolitan Kirillos of Krini, Metropolitan Georges of Kitros, Bishop Nikiphoros of Amorion, Prof. Konstantinos Delikostantis, Mrs. Anna Heidelk) and who focused on the heritage of the Apostle of the Nations in the later Byzantine tradition (Prof. Vassa Kontouma, Dr. Nikos Kouramenos and Fr. Ilya Jinjolava). The conference also examined the history of the Church of Pisidia in the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries (Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Myra and Fr. Meletios Stefanatos) and reflected on the significance of witnessing Christ in the contemporary world (Prof. Dimitra Koukoura and Dr. Mihail Comanoiu).
During the conference, a concert of classical music and Christmas carols was given at St. Paul Cultural Centre by Fr. Ioan Koval (piano) and the choir of Saint Alypios’ church in Antalya.