June 2004

PRESS RELEASE

It is announced from the Patriarchate of Alexandria that His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, following a sudden indisposition felt on the night of 7th June 2004, was hospitalized at the “Al Salama” hospital in Alexandria. His Beatitude was kept in hospital for 48 hours and underwent all the necessary tests, which showed no pathological problem. His attending Physician, Dr Ahmed Abdelaty and his fellows diagnosed that the unfortunate incident was due to fatigue and advised the Patriarch to work fewer hours.

During his brief stay in hospital. He was visited by the Governor of Alexandria General Mohamed Abdel Salam El Mahgoub, the Consul General of Greece in Alexandria Mrs Constantina Athanasiadou, the Ambassador of Cyprus Phaedon Anastasiou, the President of the Hellenic Community of Alexandria Mr Halaralmbos Katsimbris, and other members of the community. Personal interest was shown by the His All Holiness Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch, His Beatitude Irineos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Athens & All Greece, the Ambassador of Greece in Cairo Mr Panayiotis Vlasopoulos, the Director of Ecclesiasitcal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr Panayiotis Karaksis and many others.

His Beatitude was discharged from the hospital on the afternoon of Wednesday 8th June and from Thursday morning he is again attending to his duties at the Patriarchal Office.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE PATRIARCH AT AN INTER-FAITH MEETING

His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, accompanied by His Grace George Bishop of Nilopolis, took part in an inter-faith meeting organized by the ‘Sporting Club’ of Alexandria with the participation of the Governor of Alexandria General Mohamed Abdel Salam El Mahgoub, Patriarch Shenouda of the Copts and the Great Sheik of Azhar, Dr Tantawi.

The meeting was attended by a great number of Christians and Moslems. The issues which occupied the meeting among others were the peaceful co-existence of Christians and Muslims in Egypt and the views and positions of the two monotheistic religions of the country against the various social problems of the time and especially the great problem of terrorism.

Before the start of the meeting His Beatitude had the opportunity of having private talks with the above-mentioned people as well as with the member of the Egyptian Parliament Mr Tarek Talaat Moostafa.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------WISHES TO PRESIDENT MUBARAK

Immediately on being informed of the transfer of the President of the Republic of Egypt, Mr Mohamed Hosni Mubarak to Germany in order to undergo a spinal operation, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa sent a letter with wishes for a speedy recovery to the Presidential Office.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA IN ATHENS

His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, arrived at the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport from Alexandria on Sunday night, 20th June 2004, accompanied by The Patriarchal Vicar General, His Eminence Irenaios of Pilousion for official talks with political leaders of the country and with His Beatitude Christodoulos Archbishop of Athens and All Greece regarding issues of the Throne of St Mark.

At the Airport, the Patriarch was met by His Eminence Chrysostomos of Carthage who is his representative in Athens, His Grace Paul Bishop of Neochorion as the representative of His Beatitude Christodoulos Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, His Excellency  Ambassador Panayiotis Karakasis Director of the E2 Administration of Religious and Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr George Mavros Legal Advisor of the Patriarchate, Mr Patroklos Papastephanou of the “Alexandrian Lighthouse”, and others.

On Monday 21st June 2004 the Patriarch arrived at the Athens Office where he received their Eminences Dionysios of Leontopolis and Theodoros of Zimbabwe, who are members of the clergy of the Throne on leave, as well as Messrs Ioannis Michael and Patroklos Papastephanou with whom he held talks on issues of their concern.

At noon His Beatitude, accompanied by the Archbishops of Pilousion and Carthage and Deacon Nektarios, went to the Parliament of the Hellenes where he visited the President of the Body Mrs Anna Psarouda-Benakis with whom he held hearty talks on issues regarding the progress of the Throne. His Beatitude was received at the entrance to Parliament by the First Vice-President Mr Sotirios Hatzigakis and Ambassador Mr Karabarbounis.

Mr Patroklos Papastephanou, “President of the Alexandrian Lighthouse” organization then hosted a lunch at a well-known Athens restaurant for His Beatitude and his entourage.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE PATRIARCH AT THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

At noon on Tuesday 22nd June 2004, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, accompanied by His Eminence Irenaios of Pilousion and His Eminence Chrysostomos of Carthage visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency the Minister Mr Petros Molyviatis and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Balinakis.

His Beatitude was received with the appropriate honour and respect. In the private office of the Minister, issues concerning the Alexandrian Throne and its contribution to the African continent as well as the problems which it faces in the course of its service were discussed extensively and in an atmosphere of love and understanding.

His Excellency the Minister showed great interest and with warm words referred to the spiritual and missionary work of the Patriarchate in Africa. He promised, that the Greek state, in recognizing and appreciating the missionary and National work being undertaken, would assist, help and support its work, so that it may continue unhindered for the good of the Church and the Nation.

His Beatitude thanked His Excellency the Minister, for his understanding and assistance and asked him to pass on his prayers and love to the Prime Minister Mr C Karamanlis. His Beatitude was escorted in honour to the doors of the Palace by Minister Mr Molyviatis, the Deputy Minister Mr Balinakis, and senior service officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This morning, Wednesday 23rd June 2004, accompanied by His Eminence Irenaios of Pilousion, the Patriarch paid a courtesy visit to the Ambassadress of Egypt in Athens, Mrs Magda Sahin, and discussed with her issues of common interest in an atmosphere of cordiality.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA AT THE MINISTRY OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS

At noon on Wednesday 23rd June 2004, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, visited the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

His Beatitude was welcomed by the Deputy Minister Mrs Fani Palli – Petralia, with whom he discussed issues regarding the scientific organization, financial support and technological equipment of the Patriarchal Vestry and the maintenance of the historical heirlooms of the Patriarchate and informed the Minister about the work being done currently by the Patriarchate throughout Africa.

Mrs Petralia listened with great interest and attention to His Beatitude and assured him that she would proceed immediately with the necessary efforts for the materialization of the requests indicated, in order that with the assistance of the Hellenic state, the Glorious Throne of St Mark which through the centuries rises as a bright Lighthouse in Africa, may continue to radiate Orthodoxy, culture and Hellenism throughout the African continent, developing the precious heirlooms which it has saved, maintained and kept through the ages.

Thereafter His Beatitude and his entourage were received by His Excellency the Minister of Cultural Affairs, Mr Petros Tatoulis, with whom His Beatitude held hearty and cordial discussions regarding the same issues.

As one who is aware of the problems of the Throne having often visited the Patriarchate in the past, Mr Tatoulis promised that the necessary efforts would be immediate so that whatever His Beatitude had requested would be satisfied and realized regarding the salvation, maintenance, exhibition and projection of the priceless heirlooms which witness to the lengthy tradition and historic course of the Alexandrian Throne.

His Beatitude then went to the political office of the honorary president of the New Democracy Mr Miltiades Evert with whom, in a friendly atmosphere, he discussed issues concerning the Patriarchate.

At all the above-mentioned meetings, His Beatitude was accompanied by His Eminence Irenaios of Pilousion, Patriarchal Vicar General, and His Eminence Chrysostomos of Carthage, Patriarchal representative in Athens.

That night, accompanied by His Eminence Theodoros of Zimbabwe, the Patriarch visited His Eminence Elder Archbishop Paul of Memphis.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA AT THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND RELIGION

On Thursday 24 June 2004, at 13h00, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, accompanied by Their Eminences Ierenaios of Pilousion and Chrysostomos of Carthage, went to the Ministry of Education, where he visited the Minister Mrs Marieta Yiannakou and in the presence of the Deputy Minister of Education, Mr George Kallos, discussed issues concerning the education of Hellenic children on the African Continent, the aim and main objective being the preservation of the Hellenic language, religion, the centuries-old history and tradition of Hellenism.

The Patriarch asked of Mrs Yiannakou that with the relevant legislative regulation, the Theologian clergy who serve the Throne, may be able to teach in the place in which they serve, simultaneously offering their ecclesiastical service wherever the Church has ordered them to be.

The Minister adopted the views of His Beatitude and promised that all necessary efforts would be undertaken so that they may be realized.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------PATRIARCHAL MEETING WITH THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

On the afternoon of Thursday 24 June 2004, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa visited the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Euripides Stylianides, with whom he discussed and examined issues regarding the organization, activation and financial support of the Non-Governmental Organizations of the Alexandrian Church, which are active throughout the African Continent to the benefit of our brothers who suffer unjustly and live in bad circumstances, not only the Orthodox, giving substantial humanistic and social assistance.

Following an extensive discussion about the intentions, objectives and organization, generally, of the Non-Governmental Organizations, Mr Stylianides promised His Beatitude that he will always assist in this worthwhile effort of the Patriarchate, and announced that a programme of humanistic aid had already been approved for Ghana and the Ivory Coast for the establishment of 8 schools and a Technical College.

His Beatitude thanked the Deputy Minister for the sensitivity of the State to the efforts taking place throughout Africa and gave him commemorative gifts.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE PATRIARCHAL VISITS IN ATHENS CONTINUE

On 25 June 2004, at 11h00 His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, accompanied by Their Eminences the Archbishops of Pilousion and Carthage, visited the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Panayiotis Skandalakis, the one responsible for matters of Hellenes Abroad and Religious Issues.

His Beatitude was received at the entrance of the Ministry by the Secretary of the Minister, Ambassador I. Kopsides.

The discussion took place in a most friendly and hearty atmosphere and issues were raised by His Beatitude concerning Hellenes living in Africa, the Mission and the Alexandrian Church and His Beatitude asked for the contribution and support of the Hellenic State, for the work being done on the African Continent.

After listening carefully to His Beatitude, Mr Skandalakis assured him that his aim is to solve the problems faced by Hellenes in Africa and the Throne of St Mark. He stated that he especially appreciates the work being done by His Beatitude in Africa and named him a “Goodwill Ambassador for Hellenes in Africa” and the Archbishops and clergy of the Throne as good collaborators of Orthodoxy and the Church.

The meeting was also attended by the Director of the E2 Directorate of Ecclesiastical and Religious Matters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Panayiotis Karakasis. His Beatitude was accompanied to his car as a sign of honour by the Minister.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE PATRIARCH VISITS THE PRESIDENT OF PASOK

At 13h00 on Friday 25 June 2004, His Beatitude with his entourage visited the Leader of the Official Opposition and President of PASOK Mr George Papandreou at the central offices of the party in Harilaou Trikoupis Street.

His Beatitude was received by Mr George Papandreou and his co-workers in a hearty atmosphere. He congratulated the President on his undertaking of his new institutional responsibilities and wished him success in his work.

His Beatitude then informed Mr Papandreou at length on the Missionary and Pastoral  work being done by the Church of St Mark throughout the African Continent, as well as about the problems which are faced in these efforts, and received the categorical assurance of the President that he would offer his unreserved assistance as the Leader of the Official Opposition, so that the efforts of the Alexandrian Church can be assisted.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CONTACTS OF THE PATRIARCH IN ATHENS

On Monday 28th June 2004, at 11h00 His Beatitude Petros, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Irenaios of Pilousion, Vicar General of the Patriarchate, His Eminence Chrysostomos of Carthage, Patriarchal Representative in Athens and Mr George Mavros, Lawyer and Financial Advisor of the Patriarchate, visited the Minister of National Economy and Finance Mr Alogoskoufis and the Deputy Minister Mr Folias at the Ministry, where he was warmly and heartily received.

His Beatitude spoke to the Minister and the Deputy of the serious problems concerning the Patriarchate and put forward vital issues for the progress and success of the efforts of the Patriarchate in Africa. The Minister was aware of the work being done by the Patriarchate in Africa, and expressed his warm gratitude for this Ecclesiastical and National effort of His Beatitude and his co-workers. As far as the requests set by the Patriarch are concerned, the Minister expressed himself positively and assured him that they would be realized for the benefit of Orthodoxy and the Nation. His Beatitude thanked the Minister and his Deputy for their understanding and gave them each a silver icon of St Mark.

His Beatitude also met with Ambassador Mr Spyros Theocharopoulos, the Personnel Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At noon, His Beatitude and his entourage visited the Leader of the Parliamentary Group of the New Democracy at the European Parliament, Mr Ioannis Varvitsiotis and they exchanged useful thoughts on the issues concerning the Patriarchal Throne of St Mark and the Church of Alexandria. 

On the same day, the Patriarch received at the Athens Patriarchal Office: His Eminence Archbishop Petros of Axom, the Ambassador of Greece at the United Nations and Mrs Daratzikis, the journalist Mr George Xenoudakis and Mrs Gogo Kourtakis.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------LUNCH HOSTED BY THE ARCHBISHOP OF ATHENS IN HONOUR OF THE PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA

At noon on Tuesday 29 June 2004, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa accompanied by Their Eminences Irenaios of Pilousion and Chrysostomos of Carthage, attended a lunch hosted in his honour by His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece at the Archbishop’s residence in Psychiko.

During the lunch they had a fraternal and hearty discussion on Church issues generally and on the Patriarchate of Alexandria specifically. On his departure, His Beatitude warmly thanked Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, for his love, concern and unreserved assistance which he offers to all departments of the Church of Alexandria.

On the morning of the same day, His Beatitude underwent programmed medical examinations at the Onassis Medical Centre, by the scientific team of Professor Kokkinos and his colleague Mr Pavlides. The results were normal and, as announced by Professor Kokkinos, the Patriarch is in excellent health. His Beatitude thanked the Professor and his colleagues and wished them strength and blessing in the work they have undertaken.

His Beatitude then went to his Athens Office and received: George Mavros the Financial Advisor of the Patriarchate, the Lawyer Nicholas Anagnostopoulos and Mr PAtroklos Papastephanou a businessman, with whom he had discussions on various issues concerning the Church of Alexandria.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE PATRIARCH AT THE UNION OF 'EGYPTIOTES' IN GREECE

On the night of Tuesday 29th June 2004, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, accompanied by His Eminence Irenaios of Pilousion, His Eminence Petros of Axom and His Eminence Chrysostomos of Carthage, attended a dinner hosted by the Union of Egyptiotes in Greece and its President Mr Philippos Kossenas at the union’s club in Athens.

Mr Kossenas and the Executive Council received His Beatitude with much joy and thanked him for the honour of attending the dinner and for the love and concern with which he always surrounds the Egyptiotes who live in Athens. During the dinner Mr Kossenas addressed His Beatitude and referred to the work being done currently at the Patriarchate and the entire African continent and expressed his great respect, admiration and love for the pioneer and inspiration thereof, Patriarch PETROS.

In his reply, His Beatitude thanked Mr Kossenas for his kind words and referred to the current efforts and the huge restoration project taking place on the buildings, Churches and institutions of the Throne, not only in Egypt, but throughout Africa. His Beatitude did not neglect to  express his gratitude both to the Hellenic State as well as to the Church of Greece for all that they contribute to the work of the Patriarchate.

Present at the dinner were the members of Parliament Messrs K Mitsotakis, S Zagoritis, M Barbitsiotis, ex- member Mr A Livanis, Mr Papademetriou a member of the Executive Committee of the Onassion Clinic, and others.

On the morning of Wednesday 30th June His Beatitude went to his office in Athens and received: His Grace Panteleimon Bishop of Ghana, Hieromonk Chrysostomos Polyzos, Mr Konstantinos Kassios, Professor at E.M.P., Businessman Mr Spyros Demogerontas, the President of ENOA Mr Achillopoulos, Businessman Mr I Makris and Dr John Konidaris.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------OFFICIAL DINNER IN HONOUR OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF ATHENS HOSTED BY THE PATRIARCH

On the night of Wednesday 30 June 2004, His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, hosted a reciprocal dinner in honour of His Beatitude Christodoulos Archbishop of Athens and All Greece at a well-known Athens restaurant.

Present at the dinner were the Ministers of Education and Religion Mr Yiannakou – Koutsikou, of Agricultural Development and Aliment Mr S. Tsitourides, the deputy Minister of Cultural Affairs Mr P. Tatoulis, the Ambassador of Egypt in Athens Mrs Magda Shahin, Their Eminences Irenaios of Pilousion and Chrysostomos of Carthage, the Chancellor of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens Protopresbyter P. Th. Synodinos, the Financial Advisor of the Patriarchate of Alexandria Mr G Mavros, the President of the Union of Egyptiotes Mr F. Kossenas, the Businessmen Messrs P. Papastephanou, and K. Liaskas, the Reporter Mr G Papathanasopoulos and others.

During the dinner views on ecclesiastical issues were exchanged and ways of developing the issues concerning the Patriarchate of Alexandria were discussed, both with the Archbishop of Athens as well as with the members of the Greek Government.

The private discussion between the two Primates took place within the framework of mutual understanding, and the good and fraternal co-operation in all areas of the progress of the two Churches was reaffirmed.

On the morning of I July 2004, His Beatitude went to the Patriarchal office and received: Bishop Damaskinos of Diavlia, the Mayor of Helioupolis Mr Theodoros Georgakis, Professor Emeritus of the Theological Faculty of Athens Mr Markos Orphanos and Ambassador Stylianos Balsama-Rallis.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Updated 07/07/04