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15.05.05 06:45 Age: 7 yrs

Christos Anesti! Voice of Bishop Ioannis of Thermopylae, chairman of ALAC

Bishop Ioannis

As Athens2005 reaches its conclusion, Bishop Ioannis of the ancient see of Thermopylae, the jovial chairman of the Athens Local Arrangements Committee, is a busy but satisfied man. "The positive impressions and results of the meeting are printed on the hearts of those who have participated, as we see in their enthusiasm and faces, and we hope that they will take these impressions back to their churches and countries."

What impressions would he like the participants to take with them when they leave? "I hope that participants will find their distinct beliefs and thoughts enriched by the encounter, and will better know the thought and spirituality of our (Orthodox) church. And perhaps even a few words of Greek - Christos Anesti! (Christ is Risen!)."

Bishop Ioannis, a former student at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, leads much of his church's international cooperation. How does he see the future of the ecumenical movement in Greece? "The 14 months of work for this event was the first time that churches from various confessions have worked together so intensively. Despite our problems and differences, I am convinced that we are entering a new stage in our ecumenical collaboration, in Greece and worldwide, and that the forthcoming assembly of the WCC in Porto Alegre will open up a new era."