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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-01-24

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM:Greece supports Ecumenical Patriarchate's rights
  • [02] PASOK leader Papandreou meets Venizelos

  • [01] PM:Greece supports Ecumenical Patriarchate's rights

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, currently on an official three-day visit to Turkey, held talks with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos in Istanbul on Thursday, stressing that the reopening of the Halki School of Theology is a top priority.

    "In the struggle to defend the just causes of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the values that it stands for, in the struggle that is taking place with the weapons of logic and persuasion as well as of common interest I assure you that we shall not waver and we shall not back down. You can consider as a foregone conclusion the active and continuous support of the Greek state in this effort. In this spirit, the reopening of the Halki School of Theology is a top priority for us. We shall work with determination and consistency, together with all those who share our values in Greece, Turkey, and all over the world, to enable you to continue unimpeded the work that you are carrying out, and which is liked by God, for the fulfillment of the major mission of the Patriarchate," the prime minister said, addressing the Ecumenical Patriarch.

    Karamanlis said he was deeply moved to be visiting the Fanar, the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, an institution that, as he said, has constituted the religious craddle of the nation for 17 centuries.

    The prime minister praised the role played by the Ecumenical Patriarch, stressing that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with the inspired guidance of Vartholomeos has assumed a substantive role in the face of international challenges.

    "You have been the first international leader to embrace the message of saving the environment and you have proclaimed its importance. Your initiatives have met with international acceptance and they highlight the modern-day role of the Patriarchal throne in absolute agreement with your theological mission. There is no doubt that through such initiatives the universality of the institution is underlined in the strongest of ways and its international presence is boosted," the prime minister said.

    He also referred to the defending of human rights and institutions through the initiatives assumed by Vartholomeos, noting that the Ecumenical Patriarch's views have a universal appeal.

    Karamanlis further pointed out that Vartholomeos is the voice of eastern Christianity, being the first among equals on the firmament of Orthodox Churches, in the effort to defend these values, adding that the western Church has also been mobilised in this effort.

    Lastly, the prime minister said that Vartholomeos remains in a longstanding sense the firm European voice in Turkey, despite whatever adversities and disappointments.

    Welcoming Karamanlis, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed his satisfaction for his visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's seat, terming his visit to Turkey and to Istanbul as being of historic significance, since hopes are being created for the promotion of relations of friendship and cooperation between the neighbouring countries.

    He also expressed satisfaction because the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey are stuggling with all their strength for greater rapprochement between the two peoples and for their closer cooperation on the basis of all elements that unite them.

    "We congratulate you wholeheartedly for this effort of yours since the Ecumenical Patriarchate always aims at the building of harmonious and peaceful relations between those living in the same geopolitical area, the peoples of Turkey and of Greece and believes that both can always live peacefully and fraternally under the same sky which we hope will never be overshadowed by clouds of conflicts," he said.

    The Patriarch further said that the Patriarchate is working for unity and peaceful cooperation among all Christians and people regardless of gender, race and religion.

    "Therefore, strengthening the role and the work of the Patriarchate is in the interests of all, which is a source of blessing for Turkey, as well as for the whole world," Vartholomeos said.

    The prime minister and his wife Natasha were to attend a private dinner later on in the evening with his Turkish counterpart and his wife Emine. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos and the rest of the official Greek delegation were to attend a dinner hosted by Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan.

    On Friday morning, the prime minister will be addressing a business forum in Istanbul, together with his Turkish counterpart, and he will be concluding his visit with a meeting with expatriates at the High School.

    [02] PASOK leader Papandreou meets Venizelos

    Prominent main opposition PASOK deputy and recent leadership contender in the November 11 inner-party elections Evangelos Venizelos met on Thursday with leader George Papandreou.

    "I have asked for this meeting, which, unfortunately, has not taken place for two-and-a-half months after November 11, because we must at any cost avoid PASOK's introspection in a particularly crucial conjuncture for the country due to a collapsing government," Venizelos told reporters after the meeting.

    "The citizens demand a lot of things from PASOK and we must respond. I was and I will remain a guarantor of the party's unity," he added in an indirect response to press speculation regarding a split in the party.

    "All those who try to invent so-called internal enemies are seriously harming PASOK and its prospects," he added.

    In statements later to the press, PASOK Spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis said that for leader George Papandreou and the party "the only opponents are the problems and the inadmissible, anti-popular and counter-development policy of this government."

    "PASOK should advance forward united and powerful," Ragoussis said adding that one "assumes his responsibilities through his statements and mainly through his actions."

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