The Academy of Athens, the preeminent intellectual institution of Greece, held on Friday evening a special session for the official induction of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America “as an abroad-residing member of the Academy of Athens in the Discipline of Theology in the areas of Ethics and Political Sciences.”
Greek Parliament’s President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Archbishop Christodoulos of Greece and many distinguished hierarchs, politicians, academicians and other intellectuals attended the event.
Archbishop Demetrios spoke on the topic “I Sought Your Face: Biblical Variations on the Theme of the Quest for God.”
Professor Gregorios Skalkeas, president of the Academy of Athens, offered the official welcome greeting, and Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamos, who is also a member of the Academy, addressed the assembly, praised Demetrios for his scientific and literary work. Archbishop Demetrios of America will speak on the topic “I Sought Your Face (Psalm 27:8): Biblical Variations on the Theme of the Quest for God.”
The unanimous election of Archbishop Demetrios to the Academy of Athens was held during the November 28, 2002 plenary session of the Academy of Athens and was ratified by a Presidential Decree of the President of the Hellenic Republic, which was published in the official Government Gazette (no. 29) of February 12, 2003.
That event ended Archbishop Demetrios’ visit to Greece. After a short stop in Thessaloniki, for his mother’s memorial, he was expected to fly today to Istanbul, for consultations with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos.
Issues concerning the Greek-American community were discussed in the meeting of Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis with Archbishop Dimitrios of America, The Archbishop thanked the Prime Minister for the US$500,000 economic assistance offered by the Greek government that was used to rebuild the church of Saint Nikolaos in New York, which was destroyed when the Twin Towers were hit by terrorists on Septemb er 11, 2001.
Archbishop Dimitrios praised the work of the Greek EU Presidency and the efforts of the Greek government for Cyprus’ EU accession. He also expressed satisfaction for the introduction of education programs on Greek civilization in the Greek-American community schools.
The Archbishop of America discussed the crisis in the relations of the Greek Church with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the meeting he had with Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.
Mr. Papandreou underlined the great prestige the Ecumenical Patriarchate enjoys around the world and the significance of the preservation of this prestige internationally. He also underlined that the Church of Greece is dynamic and it is the source of an
Orthodox Church that it is alive and able to declare Orthodoxy at an international level.
The Archbishop stressed that the Church of Greece is a dynamic Church and this Church should not be in any kind of a friction. He said that if a problem appears to be unsolved it has been expressed the wrong way and if the wording is changed the problem can be solved.
Demetrios also met Greek Parliament President, Apostolos Kaklamanis, New Democracy Leader Costas Karamanlis and undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Yiannis Magriotis.
In all meetings he was accompanied by Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, Archdiocesan Council Vice Chairman, Michael Jaharis and SAE’s President Andrew Athens.