Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy Holds Successful Conference in Cyprus, OCP Chairman Attends as an Official Observer

OCP Chairman Dr. John Panagiotou and I.A.O. Advisor Dr. Kostas Mygdalis

OCP News Service – 21/03/2023

Limassol – Cyprus: The enlarged conference meeting of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.) International Secretariat took place in Limassol, Cyprus on March 16-19, 2023. The I.A.O. is an international organization created as an initiative by the Hellenic Parliament comprised of delegates from governmental House of Representatives members from around the world. Its purpose is to foster better understanding and working relationships among its members for maintaining and upholding Christian values within an increasingly secularized world. Chairman Dr. John G. Panagiotou attended the session from the side of Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE society.

His Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis of Zambia and Dr. John Panagiotou

Among the many activities and events which the participants engaged in was a plenary session where each member presented statements regarding particular situations and circumstances in their respective countries. I.A.O. Secretary General Dr. Maximos Charakopoulos of Greece convened the meeting, welcomed those in attendance, and expressed the significance of the enlarged number of participants at this conference in Cyprus and thanked Cypriot Parliament Member and I.A.O. Secretariat Member Panicos Leonidou for hosting the conference. I.A.O. Advisor and Founder Dr. Kostas Mygdalis reflected how the I.A.O. was a dream that began thirty years ago at its founding and has flowered into what the Cyprus conference epitomizes. Mr. Panicos then welcomed the assembly to Cyprus and expressed his joy at hosting this conference. Topics addressed by Parliamentary Members ranged from increasing governmental secularization agendas which remove Christian ethos from contemporary Europe to matters of human rights for Christians in the Middle East.

Dr. Kostas Mygdalis invited OCP Chairman Dr. John G. Panagiotou to offer remarks as a guest speaker to the assembly in both the Greek and English languages. Dr. Panagiotou spoke about the need for people to maintain an Orthodox Christian mindset (“fronema”) that is rooted in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Dr. Panagiotou was the only invited participant for OCP from North America.

The I.A.O. participants audience at the Archdiocese of Cyprus with His Beatitude Archbishop Georgios III of New Justinia and All Cyprus

The next day saw the group having an audience with His Beatitude Archbishop Georgios III of New Justinia and All Cyprus at the Archdiocese in Nicosia (Levkosia). This was followed by a meeting with the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides at the Presidential Palace, a meeting with the Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos, and a meeting with Annita Demetriou the Cypriot Parliamentary President (“Speaker of the House”) at the Parliament House. A tour was also taken of the gated barrier wall of the demilitarized neutral zone “Green Line” which separates the Greek Republic of Cyprus in the south from the occupied Turkish Cyprus in the north.

The I.A.O. conference participants meeting with President Nikos Christodoulides of the Republic of Cyprus

The next day saw the group have an audience with His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol at the Metropolis where the presentation of the I.A.O. book Hagia Sophia: The Churches of the Wisdom of God Around the World. Later in the day, a tour of Paphos took place of holy sites one of which was the archaeological site where the pillar stands where the Apostle Paul was whipped thirty-nine times for preaching the Gospel.

Professors Drs. Christodoulos Hadjichristodoulou [Cyprus], John Panagiotou, and Stephanos Efthymiadis [Greece]

At the I.A.O. conference in Cyprus, Dr. John Panagiotou met with Egyptian Parliament Member Dr. Manal Helal of the Coptic Orthodox Church

Countries with Parliament Members represented at the conference included: Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Jordan, Lebanon, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Sudan. Among the guest official observer participants included were: His Eminence Metropolitan Ioannis of Zambia, Dr. John G. Panagiotou of the United States of America, and Virgilio Avato of Italy who is I.A.O. Liaison to Roman Catholic Institutions.

Dr. Mygdalis expressed to Dr. Panagiotou the important relevance that the OCP Society could serve with its emphasis on Pan-Orthodox unity for the broader purposes of the I.A.O.’s mission and his hopes that the OCP could work even closer with the I.A.O.

OCP News Service

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