if one member suffers, all suffer together (1 Corinthians 12:26)

 

Respected ecumenical friends and partners in Europe,

Dear, sisters and brothers in Christ,

In the spirit of the contemporary inter-Christian cooperation, churches have contributed to the development and establishment of a wider ecumenical spirit of reconciliation and collaboration – extremely necessary and significant for both Europe and the world. This spirit was particularly needed in challenging times, such as following the end of the World War ΙΙ and the rise of the divisive climate of the Cold War between the East and West. Since then, churches have worked to support a progressive, and sometimes even a radical Christian spiritual approach in addressing social, political, economic and environmental issues. In this spirit, as Christians and responsible citizens, we call the European churches, ecumenical organizations, religious institutions and various Christian movements in Europe to respond to our call to ensure a secure future of our common home by taking immediate actions.

The Greek crisis is a European crisis. Therefore we believe that only at the European level foundations for a sustainable and definitive solution to this problematic, injurious and particularly dangerous situation can occur. We encourage both the Greek government and the governments of the member states of the European Union to exhaust any margin of dialogue to reach an immediate agreement, ensuring equal participation of Greece in the Common Monetary Union, and leading up to a national economic recovery.

We recognize that the current adverse situation in our country is also relevant to the crucial issues related with the growth and development of particular political, economic and social systems during the political changeover, following the re-establishment of Democracy in 1974. Furthermore, we recognize that neither have we (as citizens and Orthodox Christians) risen to the occasion nor have done the self- reflection required. Today we are ready to recognize errors in our political and economic system and we take responsibility for our failures to overcome these unhealthy situations. However, we are concerned about the policies proposed by our partners, focused apparently on the need for reforms, without taking into consideration the systemic causes of the crisis, the debt crisis and the need to address the serious humanitarian consequences of the ineffective neoliberal policies applied in the recent years.

Despite our different political affiliations and interpretation of effective solutions, we all recognize that the position of Greece remains within the European family; a position that represents the overwhelming majority of Greek citizens. We call for actions that can ensure European identity of our country based on the principles of democracy, solidarity, social justice, dignity, mutual respect and implementation of the European principles. Based on these cornerstones of unity, cooperation and common progress of the European people, we invite you to work together in order to safeguard these values, because we recognize in these foundational principles common cultural, religious and humanistic inheritance of Europe. This inheritance must be preserved at all costs against powers that put our peaceful common path at serious risk; powers that impose the deification of the markets and aim to revive sad moments of the history of our continent.

Within this context, we welcome supportive statements by religious leaders and organizations. We appreciate especially comments of solidarity from His Holiness Pope Francis, pastoral letter of the distinguished members of the Presidium of the Conference of European Churches and the public interventions from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. We call upon all Christians of Europe, in a spirit of prayer and prophetic witness (martyria), to remind the European family, the greatest value of human beings against the value of profit. We are experiencing an unfortunate revival of division and intense polarization across Europe, which taints the process of making political choices, traumatizes coexistence of our nations and stigmatizes people's hearts. In the midst of this dark reality, we firmly believe that churches of Europe must - and are able to - become bridges of cooperation and dialogue, as post-war history has proven. We are part of our common spiritual and cultural heritage and consequently co-responsible for our common future.

Friday, July 10, 2015

(Sign the open letter here)

 

Vasileiadis Petros,

Professor Emeritus of the Theological School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,

President of the Center of Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies

“Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou”

 

Saroglou Vassilis,

Professor of psychology at the Université catholique de Louvain,

President of the Académie internationale des sciences religieuses

 

Zaxaropoulos Nikos Gr.,

Deputy Dean, Professor of Theology, Head of the Master’s Programme in Theology,

Neapolis University in Cyprus

 

Stamoulis Chrysostomos,

Professor of the Theological School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,

Head of the Department of Theology

 

Kalaitzidis Pantelis,

Director, Volos Academy for Theological Studies, Volos, Greece

 

Zorbas Konstantinos,

Dr. of Theology and Sociology

 

Papageorgiou Niki,

Associate Professor of Theology at the Theological School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

 

Stathokosta Vassiliki,

Assistant Professor of Theology at the Faculty of Theology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

 

Tsompanidis Stylianos,

Associate Professor of Theology at the Theological School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

 

Dimitrios Moschos,

Assistant Professor of Theology at the Faculty of Theology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

 

Kasselouri-Hatzivassiliadi Eleni,

Lecturer at the Hellenic Open University

 

Nikiforos Dimitrios,

M.Th., Secretary General of the Center of Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies “Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou”

 

Papathanasiou Athanasios N.,

Dr. of Theology, Lecturer at the Hellenic Open University

 

Pekridou Katerina,

ThM, Research Associate, Institute for Missiology & the Study of Theologies beyond Europe,

Catholic Faculty of Theology, WWU-Münster

 

Mitralexis Sotiris,

Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy (Bogazici University), Dr. of Philosophy (FUBerlin)

 

Skliris Dionysios,

Theologian, Philologist (Paris)

 

Papachristou Nikos-Giorgos,

Religious editor / Amen.gr

Student at the School of Social Sciences of the Pontifical Gregorian University / Rome

with a scholarship of the Pontifical Council of Christian Unity

 

Kosmidis Nikos,

Former World Council of Churches youth commissioner,

Political and ecumenical activist