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WCC general secretary looks forward "with enthusiasm and caution" to a visit to churches in Greece

20 March 2002

The evolution and the work of the Special Commission on Orthodox participation in the World Council of Churches (WCC) as well as current social, political and ecumenical challenges - such as inter-church relations, the question of bioethics and the role of Greece as the only Orthodox country in the European Union - will be amongst the issues addressed during WCC general secretary Konrad Raiser's visit to the Church of Greece, 20 - 24 March.

Welcomed by Metropolitans Amvrosios of Kalavryta and Chrysostomos of Peristerion, the official part of Raiser's visit will begin in Athens with a meeting with His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, with members of the Special Commission and representatives of the Church of Greece in WCC consultative bodies, as well as with members of the Synodical Commission for inter-Orthodox and inter-Christian relations. Raiser will visit the Theological Faculty of Athens University and the newly established Church Centre for Bio-Ethics.

In Athens, the WCC general secretary will also meet with representatives of the Greek Evangelical Church and of the Armenian Apostolic Community in Greece.

On Saturday, 23 March, Raiser will leave Athens for Thessaloniki to meet in a more informal way with Theological Faculty professors and members of the Association for Ecumenical Studies, as well as with representatives of the Roman Catholic and Evangelical communities. The Greek version of Raiser's book Ecumenism in Transition will be presented to the public at a second informal gathering.

Raiser will attend the divine liturgy at the Cathedral of Neapolis and Stavroupolis on Sunday, 24 March. At a lunch hosted by His Eminence Metropolitan Dionysios, he will meet members of the academic community as well as political authorities and representatives of the civil society.

"I am looking forward to my visit to Greece. We could do more to draw Orthodox theological teachers from Greece into our ecumenical work," said Raiser on the eve of his visit. "I come with enthusiasm when I think of the numerous church initiatives in response to current challenges in society. But I come also with caution, being aware that a number of fundamental issues need further discussion," he added.

Special Commission on Orthodox participation in the World Council of Churches (WCC)