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Press Office

Athens, 15 April 2022

Participation of Orthodox Canadian MPs in Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) at centre of meeting between IAO Secretary General and Speaker of Canadian Senate

"Canada is a country where Orthodoxy has a significant presence. With our Canadian colleagues we share the same views on the freedom of expression of religious beliefs of every human and the need to peacefully resolve all differences" stressed the Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) and Hellenic Parliament MP, Dr Maximos Charakopoulos during the working lunch with the Speaker of the Senate of Canada George J. Furey and Senators Leo Housakos, Tony Loffreda and Raymonde Saint-Germain, in the presence of the Ambassador of Canada in Athens Mark Allen, at the Benaki Museum.

As Mr Charakopoulos pointed out "our meeting is taking place at a difficult time for the global community, Europe and in particular for Orthodoxy, as the war in Ukraine, after the Russian invasion, is continuing unabated. A war that continues to cause casualties among the civilian population, refugee flows and incalculable disasters". He added that, as he informed the Speaker of the Canadian Senate, "the IAO has proposed a ceasefire between the warring parties, at least during the Holy Week and until Easter Monday and we hope that our appeal will be heard. If the arms were to go silent, the voice of reason might be heard". 

The delegation of Canadian Senators is visiting Greece on the occasion of the 80-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and has held official meetings with the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the President of the Hellenic Parliament Constantine Tassoulas and the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos.

On the sidelines of the working lunch, the IAO Head briefed the Speaker of the Canadian Senate on the IAO goals and actions and requested he designate an official delegation to the institution. Mr Furey expressed a vivid interest in the IAO's activities and promise upon his return to make plans with the Orthodox Canadian MPs to designate a delegation. 

About one million Orthodox Greeks, Serbs, Armenians and others live in Canada and there are Orthodox MPs both in the House of Commons and in the Senate. In fact, one of the Senators participating in the delegation visiting Greece is Mr Leo Housakos, originally from Lakonia.

Mr Charakopoulos furthermore briefed the Canadian guests on the IAO campaign on Agia Sophia and presented the Speaker of the Senate with the volume "Agia Sophia: the temples of the Wisdome of God around the world", in English, expressing the intention to present it in Canada as well. 

Lastly, extensive talks were held on Greek-Canadian relations and Mr Furey expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality.

The working lunch was also attended by the members of the Hellenic Parliament's Greece-Canada Friendship Group Stavros Keletsis, Anna Mani Papadimitriou and Dionysios Kalamatianos

 High resolution images

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