News & Info : Press Office

Press Office

Athens, 22 October 2021

Maximos Charakopoulos meets with Presidents of Parliament of Balkan countries

"Orthodoxy has left its deep imprint on the Balkan region, which for centuries suffered the Ottoman yoke. For years the Balkans were considered Europe’s powder keg; truly, the last war on our continent took place in the Balkan Peninsula, fueled by Yugoslavia’s break-up in the 1990s. Today, everyone is looking forward to the Western Balkans' European path, for development, prosperity, peace and security in the region. That is why I believe that even those of our neighbours who are not yet members of the EU should also have a say in the great dialogue on the "Future of Europe" launched by the Union's institutions. "The IAO provides a forum for discussion also to institutional representatives of non-EU European countries, inspired by its vision of a Europe extending from the Atlantic to the Urals." The above were stated by the Secretary General of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO), Member of the Hellenic Parliament, Dr. Maximos Harakopoulos, following his meetings with the Speakers of Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Zvizdić, Montenegro, Aleksa Bečić, and Slovenia, Igor Zorčič, in the margins of the Council of Europe member states’ European Conference of Presidents of Parliament, which took place in Athens.

The IAO Advisor, Dr Costas Mygdalis had the opportunity to brief the Head of the international institution on the overall state of Orthodoxy and the current parliamentary developments in these countries, also presenting the Organisation’s scheduled activities, mainly highlighting the issue of protection of endangered Orthodox cultural monuments, in the wake of Turkey's provocative decision to turn Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and the Monastery of Chora into mosques. In this context, he expressed his desire to hold events related to the presentation of the Volume "Hagia Sophia around the World" and the relevant IAO International Photography Competition photographic material.

In his meeting  with the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina Denis Zvizdić, Maximos Harakopoulos noted that "Bosnia and Herzegovina constitutes a positive example of the peaceful coexistence of peoples with different religions and we wish to pursue more active forms of cooperation." . The Speaker of the Bosnian Parliament stated that, despite his country's multinational and multi-religious profile, different religious communities have coexisted peacefully for 6 centuries. He also expressed his full support for IAO actions and pledged to investigate the possibility of hosting an IAO International Secretariat meeting in his country in the near future.


Addressing the Speaker of the Parliament of Montenegro Aleksa Bečić, the IAO Secretary-General stressed the need to upgrade the international organisation’s relations with Montenegro, "a country", as he put it, "bearing orthodoxy’s deep imprint ", which now “takes on a more substantial status through the appointment of an official and permanent representation in our Organization". The Speaker of the Parliament of Montenegro welcomed the IAO initiatives and praised its important work promoting Christian values, but also the mutual understanding of peoples, especially in countries with a strong multinational and multi-religious character, and promised to make every effort to participate more actively in the Organisation.


Finally, in his meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Slovenia, Mr. Igor Zorčič, the IAO Secretary General stressed the importance of establishing institutional contacts and relations between the Slovenian Parliament and the IAO "which will be a lasting reminder of Europe’s Christian roots and background", while suggesting organising joint events, already planned by the Organisation for the year 2025, when the common Easter date for all Christians coincides with the 1700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea.





 High resolution images

The Hellenic Parliament's Web Portal uses cookies as specifically mentioned here