Greeting Message from Professor Petros Vassiliadis
Dear Fr. Georgy Kochetkov,
I would like to express our sincere gratitude to St. Filaret Theological Institute for the 30 years of invaluable contribution to promote the theological renewal and the ecumenical awareness of our Church. Your untiring efforts keep the authentic Christian vision alive, especially in your local Orthodox Church, but also worldwide. The Center of Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies (CEMES) is grateful to your work, especially because of its renewal focus, which is so neglected in our present-day Orthodox life and theological reflections. We consider the series of conferences you have organized all these past years, especially on Orthodox Ecclesiology, as an important contribution to our Church’s titanic effort toward her renewal.
Driving force to promote this vision in our local Church, the Church of Greece, for more than two decades – unfortunately as a lonely figure in a widely even to our days conservative ecclesiastical and social environment – was the late Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Panteleimon Papageorgiou (1902-1979), a close companion of the visionary Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras. To revitalize his vision and further contribute to the ecumenical cause, a great number of academics, as well as some of his direct or spiritual relatives, established in his name the afore mentioned Center.
During the past years CEMES has also organized several international conferences: On Orthodox Approach to a Theology of Religions (2013); on Deaconesses, Ordination of Women and Orthodox Theology (2015); on Integral Ecology as the New Road to Reconciliation (2017); and earlier this year, on Economic and Refugee Crises (2018).
Next year CEMES, while pursuing its efforts for the restoration of the Order of Deaconesses, an institution so deeply rooted in the Orthodox tradition, theologically, historically and most importantly with conciliar and canonical validity, despite falling for the time being into disuse, will mainly concentrate of the Inter-Orthodox English-speaking post graduate program on Orthodox Ecumenical Theology, starting February 1st.
Congratulating you again for the 30 years of your significant theological and spiritual contribution we wholeheartedly wish you many happy returns.
Prof. Emeritus Petros Vassiliadis
President of Center of Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies
Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou (CEMES)
Director of the Post-Graduate Theological Program
of the International Hellenic University
Thessaloniki, 18 November 2018