Events » Conference: The political, religious and spiritual dimension of the Economic AND Refugee crisis
Conference: The political, religious and spiritual dimension of the Economic AND Refugee crisis

When: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 20:00 - Friday, February 23, 2018 18:00
Where: Venue: II Auditorium, KEDEA, Aristotle University Thessaloniki, Greece

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Since June 2015 Europe has been confronted with an unprecedented sudden wave of refugees and migrants in addition to the previously existing refugee and migrant streams.

Churches, Christian NGO’s and Christian politicians have tried to respond at the situation at hand. However there has not been much opportunity to reflect on the broader religious, spiritual and economic consequences and implications of the situation in a broad ecumenical setting. This is what this CEMES/Sallux project aims to offer.

The goal is a scientific Interdisciplinary International Ecumenical Conference 2 day conference on:



Under the aegis of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartolomew

The result of the event - see the program below - will be a publication for distribution across Europe.

Organized by:

Centre for Ecumenical, Missiological and Environmental Studies (CEMES)

 Sallux | ECPM Foundation


 With the support:

Faculty of Theology, School of Theology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

International Association for Christian Social Teaching

Stichting Gave

9:30 – 10:30  

Official Opening Session

Chair: Prof. Emeritus Petros Vassiliadis (CEMES)

Messages by:

Ecclesiastical Authorities: (Ecumenical Patriarchate, Church of Greece, Catholic Church in Greece (Archbishop John Spiteris), Greek Evangelical Alliance (Georgios Kaloterakis).

State Authorities: Representative of the Greek Goverment,

Academic Authorities: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Organizers.



10:30 – 12:00

 Session 1

“Mapping session”: The current economic and refugee crisis

Chair: Representative of the Greek Goverment


  1. Rev.DrEmmanuel Clapsis (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology)
  2. Dr Andreas Michailidis, Secretary General of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.)
  3. Dr Paul Mills (The Relational Thinking Perspective)

(20 min. each speaker)

Discussion (Q & A 30 min.)



Break 12:00-12:45


12:45– 15:00

 Session 2

Voices of solidarity in a Europe of crisis

Chair: Johannes de Jong (Sallux)


  1. Rev. Archimandrite Ignatios Sotiriadis, secretary of the Synodical Committee for Inter-Orthodox, Inter-Christian and Inter-Christian Relations, Church of Greece
  2. Prof. Emer.Ulrich Duchrow (The Kairos Europa Perspective)
  3. Dr Lucas Andrianos, WCC consultant on care for Creation, Climate justice and sustainability 


 (20 min. each speaker)

Discussion (Q & A 30 min.)




17:00 – 19:15

Session 3

Witnesses of solidarity with those in need

Chair: Prof. Ch.Tsironis (CEMES) - Christiaan Meinen (Sallux)


  1. Mr. Vincent Briard, Senior Protection Officer, UN Refugee Agency
  1. Greek religious organizations and the migration/refugee crisis
    • APOSTOLI - NGO of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens,
    • Ms. Maria Koutatzi, Caritas Hellas
    • Mr. Fotis Romeos, secretary general of the Greek Evangelical Alliance
    • Testimonies from the refugee camps by two Muslim translators
  2. The position of minnorities in European migration/refugee camps
    • Howard Stern (ICC) on behalf of traumatized Christians who have been  threatened and attacked in refugee and migrant camps
    • Auke van der Helm, Judicial Consultant (Stichting Gave) a Dutch "Christian" perspective on refugees

Discussion Q & A (30 minutes)


Break 19:15-19:45

19:45 – 21:00

Session 4

Open discussion on the first draft of the Conference’s message

Chair: Prof. Milt. Konstantinou, Dean, Ch. Meinen, E. Voulgaraki

and Dr. Gabriella Urbanova.

9:30 – 11:00

Session 5

Presenting the work and vision of “Christian values” based politicians in Europe

Chair: Em.Prof. Ul. Duchrow (KAIROS) - Associate Prof. Niki Papageorgiou (CEMES)


  1. MEP Branislav Škripek(President ECPM): Future vision of ECPM - future of the EU
  2. Johannes de Jong (managing director Sallux) The Culture of Freedom, Sallux in and outside Europe
  3. Paul Mills Confederal Europe; Strong Nations, Strong Union, a relational plan for Europe
  4. Representative of the Conference of European Churches (CEC-KEK)

(20 min. each speaker)

Discussion – Q & A (20 minutes)


 Break 11:00-11:30


11:30 – 13:30

Session 6

The Churches and their Vision for Europe beyond the Crisis

Chair: Metr. of Neapolis/or Amoriou - Auke van der Helm (Stichting Gave)

  1. H.E. Metropolitan Gabriel of Nea Ionia and Filadelfia
  2. Rev. Dr. Peter Pavlovic (CEC-KEK, Study Secretary, Economic and ecological justice, EU integration, and sustainable development)
  3. Dr. Cesare Zucconi, General Secretary, Community of Sant' Egidio
  4. Daniel Farzad, The Future of the Middle East, the Freedom of Religion and how Europe and Churches Could Help

(20 min.each)

Discussion – Q & A (20 minutes)



Visit to the Care Centre for Refugees in Thessaloniki (Railway Station area),

an initiative by the Greek Evangelical Alliance.

(Only for speakers and organizers)



Concluding Session

Reading of the final Message- Political Panel(in Greek):

“Democracy, Economic and Refugee Crisis and Populism in Europe”


Chair: Nikos Kosmidis (CEMES) - Bruce Clark(“The Economist”, Religious editor)

 Panel with the participation of representatives of Greek political patries with representation in the European Parliament (SYRIZA/EUL–NGL - New Democracy/EPP - Olive Tree/S&D - The River/S&D - Communist Party of Greece - Popular Unity/EUL–NGL).

Each representative is expected to address the theme of the session as well as the Conference’s message.

MEP Branislav Škripek (President ECPM) will address the final session as well.


Rev. Emmanuel Clapsis

Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis has taught at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology since 1985 specializing in Dogmatic Theology and also teaching courses that relate Orthodox theology to modern  and postmodern sensibilities. He became tenured professor of Systematic Theology in 2003 and was appointed the Archbishop Iakovos Professor of Orthodox Theology in 2010.

His main academic interests include Ecclesiology, Ecumenism, the public presence and witness of Orthodoxy in pluralistic world, Globalization and Religion, Pneumatology, Anthropology, Suffering and Hope, Spiritual life and Prophetic witness. His theological interests are reflected in his published book:  Orthodoxy in the New World (Thessaloniki: Pournaras); Orthodoxy in Conversation: Orthodox Ecumenical Engagements (Holy Cross Press/WCC Publications, 20000 and the books that he edited:  The Orthodox Churches in a Pluralistic World (WCC Publications, 2004) and Violence and Christian Spirituality (WCC Publications, 2007). He has published numerous articles on his academic interests and some of them have been translated in French, German, Russian, and Italian and Greek. Currently, He is writing a book on the Holy Spirit focusing on its universal presence.

Fr. Clapsis has served as the Vice Moderator of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches (1991-1998) and commissioner of Faith and Order Commission of the U.S. National Council of Churches (1985-1991). He has also participated in the theological dialogues of Orthodox Church with the Evangelical Lutheran Church (USA) and the Roman Catholic Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed him in its formal delegation to the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Assemblies of WCC in Canberra, Australia (1991), in Harare Zimbabwe (1998) and Porto Alegre, Brazil (2205).  He  also served in the Reference Group that informed and accompanied the work of the World Council of Churches During the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV: 2001-2010).


Bruce Clark (“The Economist”, Religious editor)

Bruce Clark is a writer-at-large for the Economist, specializing in religion, ethics and public policy. He has worked as a journalist for over 30 years. His previous posts have included: diplomatic correspondent for the Financial Times, Washington correspondent for the Financial Times, Moscow correspondent for The Times of London, and international security correspondent for the Economist. He is the author of “Twice A Stranger”, a prize-winning study of the Turkish-Greek population exchange and its consequences, and “An Empire’s New Clothes”, a personal view of post-Soviet Russia. Born in Northern Ireland in1958, he studied Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge University.  He is a member of Amnesty International.



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Rev. Farzad Daniel

Born in the 60s into an Ayatollah’s family. Raised and educated to become a higher cleric. Devout Moslem. Life changed when he discovered the Fatherhood of God. Became a Christian, was persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, sentenced to death. By God’s providence he was freed, found asylum in the U.K. Main objective in his spreading the Gospel is to make known to the Moslems that God through Jesus Christ can become their father, too. Founded “My Father’s Heart” in Athens in 2013, an NGO that takes care of Iranian and Afghan refugees under the name of AVC Hellas. His radius of activities spread with the crisis of IS, so that he now is active not only in Turkey but also in Syria, Iraq and Iran.



Prof. Emer. Ulrich Duchrow

Professor of systematic theology at the University of Heidelberg/Germany, specialised in ecumenical theology and theology-economy issues; Co-founder and moderator of Kairos Europa, an ecumenical grassroots network striving for economic justice. Member of the Academic Council of Attac Germany.

Some publications

(1995) 1998 2nd ed., Alternatives to Global Capitalism, Drawn from Biblical History, Designed for Political Action

  • 2004, with F.J. Hinkelammert, Property for People, Not for Profit: Alternatives to the Global Tyranny of Capital”
  • 2013 with F.J. Hinkelammert, Transcending Greedy Money: Interreligious-Solidarity for Just Relations
    2015ff. co-editor of the series “Radicalizing Reformation” (7 volumes) (see



Gabriel | TBC



Auke van der Helm (Stichting Gave)

Auke van der Helm has his educational background in International Relations and has achieved a master degree in global governance at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Currently, Auke is a legal consultant with the Gave Foundation, a Dutch Christian Organisation. His main focus is on advising churches and volunteers on matters relating to the asylum procedure in the Netherlands , monitoring reports regarding harassment of Christians in asylum seeker centres and doing country research on the situation of Christians in Muslim countries.



Rev. Archimandrite Ignatios Sotiriadis |TBC



Johannes de Jong (Sallux)

Managing director Johannes de Jong has been working for Sallux since it’s start in 2011. He has been focusing on economy and international relations with a specific attention to those who are quickly overlooked in the global economy and geopolitics. Sallux means Salt & Light. For him salt means that we as Christians need to be sharp and clear (‘salted debate’) and practical in order to prevent that the most oppressed are forgotten in economy and international relations. Light means for him that it is often necessary to shed a new light at the issues and to work on new paradigms in order to find solutions that solve the underlying issues in the challenges we are confronted with.


Konstantinou |TBC


Nikos Kosmidis



Christiaan Meinen (Sallux)

Christiaan has gained a lot of experience in several administrative, supportive and events creating positions, projects and jobs. Christiaan works for Sallux | ECPM Foundation. Christiaan has an interest in geopolitics, (EU) foreign policies, sustainability, and military doctrine, technologies, and policies. Christiaan is member of the drafting committee of this conference.


Andreas Fr. Michailidis

Andreas Fr. Michailidis was born on Chios in 1960.Dr. Specialist Rheumatologist. He has two kids. Studies: He studied medicine and specialized in Rheumatology. He holds a PhD in the History of Medicine at the University of Thessaly, since 2008. Mr. Michailidis has been a Member of the Greek Parliament since January 2015 with SYRIZA in Chios. Member of the Standing Committee on Social Affairs. Member of the Subcommittee on combating narcotics. Member of the Special Permanent Committee on Greeks Abroad. Mr. Michailidis is also Secretary General of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.).


Dr Paul Mills

Dr. Paul Mills studied economics at Cambridge University and his doctoral research included the biblical and church teaching on debt and interest. He has specialized in financial markets, stability and regulation working for the UK Treasury and in Washington D.C. He has written a number of papers on the application of biblical thinking on economics and finance, notably for the Jubilee Centre in Cambridge, and is co-author of the Sallux paper Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union. He is currently an elder of a Baptist church in London. 





Rev. Dr Peter Pavlovic

Rev. Dr Peter Pavlovic, Study Secretary on economic and ecological justice, EU integration, and sustainable development.



Branislav Škripek ( Member European Parliament / President ECPM)

Branislav Škripek is a Slovak member of the European Parliament from the conservative party OĽaNO (Obyčajní Ľudia, Ordinary People and Independent Personalities), in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR). He is Member of the Bureau of the ECR.

Branislav Škripek is also a president of the European Christian Political Movement ( ECPM), the  European political party working on Christian- democratic  politics in Europe from explicitly Christian - social  point of view. 

MEP Škripek is member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), and the Delegation for relations with Israel (D-IL). He is substitute member in the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM). 

MEP Škripek studied theology, worked as a caregiver for disabled youth, founded charities, and worked as a translator and interpreter.

More information:


Howard Stern (ICC)

As an internationally accredited mediator involved in Middle Eastern affairs since 2011, Howard seeks to raise awareness of the impact the emerging cultural conflict now enveloping Europe will have,

as east meets west.   He oversees operational security for the International Christian Consulate (ICC).  The ICC is unique in that it is a non-denominational Christian mission, working exclusively with Christian refugees who find themselves victims of faith based persecution and discrimination within refugee accommodation in Greece and neighbouring states.

The ICC takes referrals from a range of partners for assisting Middle Eastern Christians from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Palestinian and Kurdish Territories. 




Gabriela Urbanova

Gabriela Urbanova is working as a policy advisor in the office of the Slovak Member of the European Parliament, Branislav  Škripek, where is she responsible for the economic and employment policies. Ms. Urbanova serves as a board member of ECPYouth, the  youth organization of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

She holds the PhD. in International economics. She has been teaching the subjects of International organisations and European integration at the State university of Slovakia and working as business consultant in Vienna and Bratislava. Gabriela was long term leading activities for Christian youth in Slovakia


Dr. Cesare Giacomo Zucconi, (Community of Sant' Egidio)

Born in London 1962. He has a PhD and a Post-Doctoral Degree in Political Sciences and History of International Relations at the University “La Sapienza” in Rome, where he was researching and teaching on History of International Relations several years. Actually he is teaching International Relations in Jena and Berlin.

He published books and articles on History of Central-Eastern Europe and Church History. He published several articles on Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Interreligious Dialogue.

Dr. Zucconi has been actively involved for many years with the Community of Sant’Egidio. With the Community of Sant’Egidio he holds the following positions: He has been involved in most of the activities of the Community of Sant’Egidio in the field of peace and inter-religious dialogue.


Visit to a refugee centre in Thessaloniki or in the wider region.

Departures: Late afternoon or evening.

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