On Saturday 3rd of March 2018, the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens organized and carried out the conference “Holy Bible: dialogue between God-human” in the amphitheater of the National Hellenic Research Foundation. The conference was held in the context of the Year dedicated to the Bible, which has been declared by his Excellency Sevastianos Rossolatos Catholic Archbishop of Athens and lasts from the 3rd of December 2017 to 25th of November 2018.
In the same place, there was an exhibition of the Hellenic Bible Society titled “Holy Bible, from the Ancient Manuscripts to Modern Translations”, as well as an exhibition of old copies-heirlooms of the Holy Scriptures from the Archives of the Apostolic Center “Faith and Culture” of the Catholic Archdiocese of Naxos-Tinos, from the Library of the Institute of Human Sciences of the Jesuits Fathers and from the Greek Historical Evangelical Archives.
The Manus Apertae vocal ensemble enriched the event with a series of hymns starting with the prayer “Hymn to Love”. Afterwards, the Most Reverend Savio Hon Tai-Fai, Nuncio of the Holy See in Greece and his Excellency Sevastianos Rossolatos Catholic Archbishop of Athens brought a greeting. Followed by the General Secretary of the Hellenic Bible Society, Mr. Michail Chatzigiannis who, among others, mentioned in his greeting: “…It is indeed commendable that the inspirational initiative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens to declare the current working year as the year of the Holy Bible and in this context to organize this conference. While we are all preparing to celebrate in a few weeks the most important event of our Faith, the Passion, namely the Resurrection of Christ, today’s conference is of special interest. The subject of the conference “Holy Bible, dialogue between God-human” has a timeless but also timely importance.
Firstly, because the Bible is the cornerstone of our single Church, our common starting point and simultaneously our most important basis. Secondly, because admittedly in the “letters” of the Bible, we find the heart of our theology and our ecclesiastical ethos, and with these we give meaning to our existence and envision the hopeful goods of the future. Thirdly, because through the reading and interpretation of the Bible not only overtime we have the permanent, by the letter “remembrance”, in the body of the Church, but also to each of us separately, the once salvific events, centered on Christ and as an object the man and the whole creation. A reminder of what he said and what the Lord did. All these elements are absolutely necessary for the society and the bond of peace that ought to reign among us…”
On the first session of the conference under the chairmanship of the teacher – executive secretary of the Marist Mission in Europe and member of the Pastoral Committee, Mrs. Angela Sestrini, Mrs. Myrto Theocharous Professor of the Old Testament at the Greek Bible College, had the first presentation on the subject: “The Book of Deuteronomy and Social Welfare” followed by the presentation of theologian-scholar and interpreter of the Bible Fr. Sotiris Mavrofidis on the subject: “The formation of the New Testament.” On the second session under the chairmanship of the member of the Pastoral Committee of the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens, Maria Schick, the first rapporteur was Fr. Markos Foskolos theologian-historian on the subject: “The Bible in the Worship of the Church” followed by the presentation of Mr. Christos Karakolis associateprofessor of the New Testament in the Faculty of Theology of the University of Athens on the subject: “The New Testament as the foundation for dialogue and cooperation between Christian Churches.” Finally, Mr. Ioannis Tsevas, surgeon dentist, director of the Greek Historical Evangelical Archives, referred to the Exposition that there was outside the conference hall and briefly to the history of the Hellenic Bible Society and especially to its collaboration with the Catholic Church.
At the end of the conference, his Excellency Catholic Archbishop of Athens once again thanked the speakers and the choir, offering some souvenirs, congratulated all who helped in one way or another on organizing and carrying out the conference attended by many priests and hieromonks, nuns and monks of all monastic orders, laymen from many Parishes of the Catholic Archdiocese of Athens and many believers of other Christian confessions.
Photographs: Leonard John Vamvakaris