TORONTO – On Friday, June 28, with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop, the Assemblies of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada took place in Vancouver.
The youth conference, with one hundred and seventy (170) participants between the ages of 16-28 from across Canada began on June 28 and ended July 1.
The Ladies Philoptochos conference began on June 28 and also ended on July 1st. One hundred and ten (110) ladies from across Canada participated.
The Clergy-Laity Conference started with the celebration of a Divine Liturgy at St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Vancouver, where all the participants of the three assemblies, of the Youth, the Ladies Philoptochos, the community delegates as well as the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Canada all attended along with the plenitude of faithful of Vancouver.
The Clergy-Laity Conference with one hundred and seven (107) representatives from communities across Canada commenced on June 30 and ended its work sessions on the afternoon of July 3.
The work of all the assemblies was carried out in an orderly fashion and in the best possible manner. The Clergy-Laity Conference was presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Sotirios.
It should be noted that every day from June 29 thru July 3, with the exception of Sunday, Divine Liturgy was celebrated from 8:00 until 9:15 AM by His Eminence Archbishop Sotirios, serving as a simple priest, at an area of the hotel which was transformed into a chapel. All the representatives of the three assemblies: the youth, the ladies Philoptochos, and the Clergy-Laity attended these Divine Liturgies. Thus, in this spiritual manner did every day begin. Each day ended in similar fashion with vespers service.
His All-Holiness Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew sent his greetings and a message which was read aloud by Archimandrite of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Dean of the Patriarchal Theological Academy of Toronto, the Very Rev. Fr. Athenagoras Ziliaskopoulos.
At the official dinner, among the many other dignitaries in attendance, were Tasoula Berggren, Honorary Consul of Cyprus, and Athanasios Ioannou, Consul General of Greece in Vancouver.
The theme of this year’s Clergy-Laity conference was:
“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matthew 12:25).
At the youth and Philoptochos assemblies, many relevant topics of concern to each, were discussed. The topics and subject matter of the Clergy-Laity was as follows: The Youth as a Bridge between the Past, Present and Future. Speaker: Fr. D. Antonopoulos; Philanthropy: Internal and External. Speaker: Fr. T. Alamanos; Greek faith & Orthodox Education: Connecting salvation with Greek Education. Speaker: Archon Depoutatos – Spyros Volonakis, Director of Greek Education; Internet Ministries: Importance, Budget and Expectations. Speaker: Archon Ostiarios – Evangelos Sotiropoulos; The Church at Home: Contemporary Challenges. Speaker: Fr. K. Kaltsidis; Greek Orthodox Community: Unifying the Faithful – Spiritual Life – Administration – Conformity and Journeying together in harmony with the Holy Metropolis and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Speaker: Archon Prostatis Ton Grammaton – Michael G. Ikonomou.
All the topics were studied and discussed in depth and in a spirit of love and harmony, motions and resolutions were received and adopted.
Participants expressed their deepest gratitude for what was a successful conference to the four local communities of Vancouver, East Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria, and to priests Fr. Constantinos Economos, Fr. Constantinos Kaltsidis, Fr. Timoleon Prattas, and Fr. George Tolias, and to the organizing committee.
Archbishop Sotirios expresseed his warmest thanks to all, and especially towards His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew for the elevation of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada.