The Memorandum of the Public Inter-Orthodox Conference on “The Voice of Saint Andrew the First-Called in the Modern World”
Conference on “The Voice of Saint Andrew the First-Called in the Modern World” was held on November 17-18, 2017 in Patras, Greece. It welcomed participants from Greece, Russia, Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Bulgaria who represented the states where Orthodox population prevails, as well as participants from the USA and Italy, the countries with other faith and religious traditions.
The Conference aimed to reveal the idea that honouring Andrew the First-Called is the uniting source. It aimed to become the initiating step on the way to consolidation of pubic efforts of the Eastern-Christian world.
The Orthodox World has spiritual and creedal unity. And today it needs the project-based, intellectual and creative collaboration to be established; the one that should help it assert its positions as a powerful force in the civil society, which is capable to offer certain constructive answers to the challenges of the modern time. The collaboration like that should include the clergy and secular people, church communities, public societies and states.
His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostom paid tribute to the victims of the natural disaster that had taken place in Western Attica a few days before.
Also representatives of local Churches, governmental bodies and different public organizations from Russia, Greece and other countries took the floor for welcome speeches at the Conference.
The participants of the Conference came to the following conclusions:
· It is necessary to pay attention to the soteriological exceptional character of Lord Jesus Christ and the Orthodox Christian Church as the keeper of the Truth and the Grace of God. It is also necessary to emphasize the pan-Orthodox nature of Saint Andrew’s mission and its significance in the modern multi-cultural world.
· The spiritual and dogmatic solidarity among Orthodox Christians should facilitate the creative construction, strengthening of spiritual and social virtues: solidarity, mercy, religious freedom, charity and social fairness in modern Europe and the world community.
· Modern idols of human pride, replacement of religious things by material things and atheist knowledge obtained without faith are not acceptable as they lead us to the Post-Modernist society of crisis and lack of morality.
· Human rights, a law-governed state and elements of the modern culture are of great importance. However, their development should be based on the Christian values.
· Freedom is the highest value. But it stands not only for rights but for responsibilities as well, along with sacrifice like Christ’s one.
· Individualism, secularization and unethical technocratic modernization are negative features of our society’s development. For this society the Orthodox spirituality has a healing role for the community of people who aim to get rid of passions and come closer to God.
The participants of the Conference appeal to public forces in the Orthodox World to combine efforts for the sake of strengthening of its essential values, such as solidarity, mercy, love for Motherland, religious tolerance, respect for the older generation, care for children, teaching the youth, spiritual and cultural development of a human being as well as protection of Christians who suffer from persecutions in the modern times.
The participants of the Conference acknowledged the peculiar significance of family for the true nature of a human being, reproduction of generations, preservation and development of cultural and civilizational grounds. As a result, they came up with the proposal for the next conference to be dedicated to the family topic and for the conference’s work to be capable to combine the issues of spiritual guidance and pastoral care related to family life, scientific analysis of conditions for family existence in the modern world and project-based activity related to family-oriented public initiatives.
The period of the activity of the Foundation of Saint Andrew the First-Called, that encompasses a quarter of a century, shows that prospects of dialogue of civilizations development amid the globalization processes make all of us be capable to consciously perceive new social practices and technologies, be able to use them for our benefit and focus on values which are part of our spiritual tradition. That is why Conference on “The Voice of Saint Andrew the First-Called in the Modern World” is particularly in demand today as the platform that unites intellectual and creative potential of representatives of the Orthodox World in order to develop sense-bearing and practical answers to the challenges of the modern world.
At the end His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostom of Patras thanked the organizers, the Foundation of Saint Andrew the First-Called, representatives of the Churches, speakers and all the people who helped hold the Conference without any obstacles. He also expressed the wish for the message of Saint Andrew – “We have found the Messiah” – to be proclaimed on the global level.