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Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs I. Amanatidis’ address to the 25th-Anniversary General Assembly of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (Athens, 25 June 2018)
“Your Excellency the President of the Republic,
Mr. President of Parliament,
It is a great pleasure to welcome, on behalf of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the members of the 25th General Assembly of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy. I welcome the proceedings and wish you every success.
The IAO, based on its charter and its member-parliaments, is a political organization in the fullest sense of the word. In the General Assembly, the members are called upon to deal with policy issues that concern the whole world and to formulate a view on these, while also looking at and approaching other social and economic issues with the necessary facility.
On this occasion, allow me to share some thoughts with you.
The great Greek man of letters Nikos Engonopoulos once said that he didn’t know whether he was Christian, but that he was certainly Orthodox. An exceptional turn of phrase that captures the essence of the matter, certainly placing the issue of identity squarely on the first line of what we call cultural reality.
If European culture, of which we are proud, has its abiding point of reference in the value system developed and produced by the last great religion of Antiquity, Christianity, then the Orthodox Church as a whole is what preserves the proto-Christian and ancient ethos, and we Orthodox peoples carry forward a tradition that speaks to modern and ancient times with equal ease.
This is a fact that we are called upon to manage, promoting its toolbox as a method for understanding and cooperation between our peoples, and this is exactly what the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy has been doing for twenty-five years now.”