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Statements by Minister of Foreign Affairs, N. Kotzias, and Archbishop Demetrios of America, following their meeting (New York, 21.09.2017)
N. KOTZIAS: I had the pleasure and honour of a long discussion with His Eminence. We talked about where American Hellenism stands, issues pertaining to its participation in public life and in education. We also talked about the Greek-language schools in America, about the need to strengthen our presence at the major American universities, and of course I expressed my respect for His Eminence, a great spiritual person.
ARCHBISHOP OF AMERICA: I thank, with all my heart, His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece. We had an excellent discussion. I will use the expression of the Apostle Paul, “Speaking the truth in love”, that is, we speak the truth in love, but we also love in truth.
N. KOTZIAS: ... but we also love the truth.
ARCHBISHOP OF AMERICA: ... This “speaking the truth” has everything in it. We are true and speak the truth. And, I must say, I was impressed. I have met before with the Minister under other circumstances, but I was impressed by his true interest in Education and his special relationship with a key tool of education: the book. We showed an array of books, and the Minister not only looked through them, but even smelled them, just as they came off the press, and this is very important. I will remember this image, because it shows his relationship with Education. You, Minister, don not speak generally or vaguely. You examine, read, “smell” the text.
N. KOTZIAS: This book project is wonderful, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to peruse and study the books closely.
ARCHBISHOP OF AMERICA: I, too, appreciate the length of our conversation. Ministers are very busy people, but we went by the old saying, “the westerners have the clocks, we have the time.”
N. KOTZIAS: ... And we also have history with us.
ARCHBISHOP OF AMERICA: ... And history with us, and this is why we can override protocol and converse at length. I also must note the interest of the Minister and of the Greek state and government in educational issues, in the overseas Greek community, the need for what we have been preaching urbi et orbi. Hellenism has lived for 6,000 years because it serves humanity, not itself. This is very fundamental for us. We are here to serve humanity. The Minister, too, stressed this today. It came from his soul. And I thank him very much for this and for his questions and comments. Once again, welcome. I wish you a pleasant trip back to the homeland, and I thank you for everything you are doing for the Greek American community.