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Press Office

Athens, 18 January 2022

Joint initiatives of Orthodox and Catholics representatives discussed at meeting of Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy Secretary General with Ambassador of Greece to the Vatican

The Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO), MP Dr Maximos Charakopoulos, met with the new Ambassador of Greece to the Vatican, Mrs Katia Georgiou. The meeting took place on the ambassador's initiative, to be briefed on IAO actions, especially those related to the Catholic Church.

After the meeting, Mr Charakopoulos said: "The agenda of issues providing grounds for fruitful and constructive cooperation between the Orthodox and Catholic parliamentary institutions has expanded dramatically in recent years, as we are called to face common challenges. We are confident that the new ambassador of Greece to the Vatican, whom I briefed on actions we are promoting, shall provide strong support to our efforts for  joint initiatives with representatives of the Catholic world ".

Mr Charakopoulos thanked Mrs Georgiou for honoring him with the invitation but also her interest to contribute positively to the success of the institution's goals. He then informed her on the deepening of IAO cooperation with the International Catholic Legislators Network (ICLN), which includes joint initiatives such as interventions for the Future of Europe, and above all, the preservation and promotion of its Christian tradition, together with the protection of Christians threatened with extinction in the Middle East  .

Special reference was made to the first IAO participation in the "Rimini meeting for friendship among peoples" forum, attended by important personalities of political, religious and cultural life, not only from Italy but the Catholic world as a whole.

The IAO Head also informed the Greek diplomat on discussions in progress with the Catholics, regarding the organization of events for the common Orthodox and Catholic Easter in 2025, which coincides with the 1,700 anniversary of united Christianity's 1st Ecumenical Council.

Maximos Carakopoulos presented to Mrs Georgiou IAO initiatives to raise international public awareness on the conversion of Hagia Sophia temple in Istanbul into an Islamic mosque. One of them is the publication of the volume "The temples of the Wisdom of God around the world", which includes catholic churches dedicated to God's Wisdom.The volume, which was delivered to Pope Francis during his official visit to Athens, will be translated into many languages, including Italian. In fact, its official presentation is planned to take place in Italy. Regarding the issue of Hagia Sophia, the IAO Secretary General had addressed a letter to the Pope, asking for his support in the attempt to annul the Turkish leadership's decision altering the character of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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