The Hellenic Bible Society organized in collaboration with the Theological Faculty of the University of Athens on the 13th and 14th of December, 2013 at the Cultural Center of Athens an International Scientific Conference on: “The Edict of Milan in 313 AD and the demand of the 21st century for reconciliation: The role of the Bible in the peaceful coexistence of people”. The event was introduced by the president of our Society Metropolitan of Demetrias and Almyros Mr. Ignatius. Greetings were also sent by the Dean of the Theological Faculty of the University of Athens Mr. Marios Begzos. The main introduction of the event was made by Professor of Theology of AUTH Miltiadis Constantinou entitled “Collaboration between the United Bible Societies the Catholic and the Orthodox Church for the distribution of the message of the Gospel to the modern world”.
The conference was held on the occasion of celebrating 1700 years from the issuance of the Edict of Milan in 313 AD.
The schedule continued under the chairmanship of Professor Emeritus of the Theological Faculty of Thessaloniki, Ioannis Karavidopoulos. The first topic was entitled “Bible and Religious Tolerance” with the first speaker Ass. Professor of Theology at the University of Athens Konstantinos Zarras on “Pax deorum and Pantheon as religious and institutional conditions for the Edict of Milan”. The speech of the lecturer of the Hellenic Bible College, Myrto Theoharous on: “Faith in the exclusivity of Yahweh and the issue of intolerance towards believers of other religions”. A third speaker of the first part was the Director of the Jesuit Library Fr. Sebastian Freris who spoke about “God’s people and the people of the world. Reflections on Mark 16:15 (with reference to Isa 11:10-12 and relevant decisions of the Second Vatican Council)”. The last speaker was the lecturer of the Hellenic Bible College, Stefanos Mihalios on: “Tolerance in view of exclusive interpretation. The early Christian interpretation of Judaism in the context of religious tolerance (John 8:44 and Re 2:9, 3:9)”.
Saturday morning during the second session entitled: “The Bible in the modern world”, chaired by Secretary of Synodal Commission on Inter-Orthodox and Inter-Christian relations Archimandrite Ignatius Sotiriadis with five introductions made. The first by Dr. of Theology and editor of “Assembly” magazine Athanasios Papathanasiou on “Despair and freedom. Universal paths to the Bible”, the second by lecturer of the Department of Pastoral and Social Theology of AUTH Ekaterini Tsalampouni on “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mathew 6:33) A Biblical approach proposal of world demand for justice”, the third by Metropolitan of Zimbabwe and Angola Metropolitan Seraphim on “The Bible and religious tolerance in Africa” the forth by Metropolitan of Alexandropouli Traianoupolis & Samothraki Mr. Anthimos on «“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth”. Tolerance and cooperation on both shores of the Aegean Sea at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century» and finally the fifth by the coordinator of Translation Programs and Scientific Publications of the United Bible Societies Dr. Simon Crisp, entitled: «Why translate the Bible for Musilms?».
In the third session was entitled: “The Bible in the Christian Ecumene” chaired by Professor Miltiadis Konstantinou and four introductions were made. The Professor of Theology, University of Athens Metropolitan of Messinia Mr. Chrysostomos suggested the subject “The news of the biblical word in the light of the patristic interpretation. Principles and Conditions”. In continuation Professor of Instituto di Teologia Ecumenica “San Nicola” in Bari, Fr. Rosario Scognamiglio spoke on “New perspectives in understanding the Bible after the Second Vatican Synod. The interpretation of the dialogue”. The lecturer of the University of Athens Faculty of Theology Vassiliki Stathokosta made an introduction to the subject: “The Bible in the ecumenical movement” and finally professor of the Hellenic Bible College Jeffrey W. Baldwin spoke on “In search of the “heretic”. Common thrust and Intercommunal dialogue in the history of the Samaritan woman (John 4)”.
During the last part of the conference a round table discussion took place which was moderated by Gen. Secretary of the Hellenic Bible Society Mr. Michael Chr. Chatzigiannis on “The work of the Hellenic Bible Society in the service of the Church.” Attending were the President of our Society, Metropolitan of Demetrias and Almyros Mr. Ignatius, Metropolitan of Messinia Mr. Chrysostomos, the priest of the Catholic Church Fr. Theodore Kontidis and the Pastor of the First Greek Evangelical Church of Athens Panagiotis Kantartzis.
In this two-day conference those who also attended were Bishops of Kaisariani, Byron and Hymettus Mr. Daniel, Iliou, Acharnon and Petroupoleos Mr. Athenagoras, professors of the two Theological Schools, graduate students, doctoral candidates, teachers and many people from all ecclesiastical denominations.
The scientific committee of the conference consisted of: Miltiadis Konstantinou (Professor of the Theological School of the Aristotle University), Christos Karakolis (Assistant Professor, University of Athens) and Vassiliki Stathokosta (lecturer of the Theology Faculty of the University of Athens).
You can watch the speeches of the conference by clicking on the subject of each speaker and by visiting our YouTube channel: ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΒΙΒΛΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΙΑ