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Metropolis of Sweden organizes first Clergy-Laity Congress

The Holy Metropolis of Sweden issued the following press release:

On Saturday, June 16, 2018, His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia invited distinguished offices from his parishes to the headquarters of the Metropolis to discuss the prospect of organizing and convening the first Clergy-Laity Congress in the fifty-year history of the Holy Metropolis of Sweden.

On hand at the meeting were the V. Rev. Archimandrite Alexander Loukatos, as well as Mrs. Kyriaki Papadopoulou Samuelsen, Ms. Athena Karapanagiotidou, Mrs. Maria Kehagia, Mrs. Fotini Batsela, Dr. Vasiliki Vasila, Mr. Nicholas Kitsios, and Mr. Christos Kakoulidis.

The aforementioned persons were appointed to head the committees responsible for organizing the Clergy-Laity Congress, which include the following domains: 1. Liturgics/Rubrics, 2. Agenda Items/Workshops, 3.Organization/Coordination/Volunteers, 4. Culture, 5. Fundraising, 6. Digital Communications, 7. Greek, Swedish, and English Correspondence, 8. Travel Arrangements for Delegates and Dignitaries, 9. Hospitality and Meals, 10. Digital and Print Invitations, 11. Health Care, 12. Security for Dignitaries, Politicians, and Guests, 13. Youth Activities, 14. Internet Streaming, 15. Communication with the Media, 16. Reception and Registration of Clergy-Laity Delegates, etc.


At the meeting, it was proposed that the Clergy-Laity Congress be held on Saturday, September 28, 2019, within the framework of celebrations for the semi-centennial of the establishment of the Holy Metropolis of Sweden (1969-2019), while the proverb by St. John Chrysostom “We do not stand still, for we are moving forward,” was chosen as the theme of the Congress, which will be held in Stockholm or Uppsala and its outlying areas.

The proposed itinerary for the first day of the Congress is as follows: Registration (8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.), Agiasmos (Blessing of the Water) Service (9:00 a.m.), Break (9:30 a.m.), Greetings by ecclesiastical and political public figures or their representatives (10:00 a.m.), Keynote address (10:30 a.m.), Committee introductions and reports (11:00 a.m.), Morning workshop sessions (11:30 a.m.), Lunch (1:00 p.m.), Afternoon workshop sessions (2:30 p.m.), Vespers (5:00 p.m.), Official opening of cultural and other exhibitions (6:00 p.m.), Musical performance and dinner (7:00 p.m.), End of proceedings for the first day (9:00 p.m.).

The proposed itinerary for the second day of the Congress is as follows: 1. Archieratical Divine Liturgy at the St. George Cathedral in Stockholm, 2. Reception in the Cathedral hall, 3. Conclusion of the Congress proceedings.

The following topics were proposed for presentations, speeches, and workshops, which will feature guest speakers from Scandinavia and abroad: 1. Refugeeism and Migration: Sensitizing the Hellenic Community and Promoting Action, 2. The Parish and Local Society, 3. The Presbytera (Priest’s wife) and Her Contribution to the Success of Parish Ministry, 4. Prospects and Vision of the Holy Metropolis of Sweden for the Next Five Years, 5. Philanthropy, 6. Parish Councils, Etiquette,and Protocol, 7. Greek Education in Scandinavia and Cultural Diplomacy, 8. Internet Ministry, 9. Preservation & Restoration of Our Ecclesiastical Legacy, 10. Fundraising, 11. Inter-Orthodox Relations Today, 12. Prospects for Interdenominational Relation in the Future: Is this a Necessity or Not?, 13. Contemporary Translation as a Missionary Ministry of the Church, 14. Digitization of Parish Archives, 15. Byzantine Iconography Seminar, 16. Seminary of Byzantine Music in Greek and Scandinavian Languages,  17. Youth Participation in Parish Activities, 18. The Environment and the Parish, 19. Security Precautions in Churches, 20. Practical Legal Advice.

It was also decided that heads or delegates from the following institutions be invited to the Clergy-Laity Congress: 1. Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, 2. The Royal Palace of Sweden, 3. The Governments of Sweden, Greece, and Cyprus, 4. The Embassies and Honorary Consulates of Greece, Cyprus, and the Five Nations Comprising the Holy Metropolis of Sweden, 5. The Lutheran Church of Sweden, 6. The Syriac Aramaic Community of Stockholm, 7. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockholm, 8. The Coptic Diocese of Stockholm, 9, The Orthodox Christian Jurisdictions Stationed in Scandinavia, 10. University Professors, 11. The Presidents and a Delegation of Teachers from the Greek Schools of Stockholm, 12. The President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Sweden, 13. The President of the Foundation Elliniki Politistiki Stegi Agios Ioannis Theologos (Hellenic House of Culture St. John Theologian), 14. Delegates from the Parishes of the Holy Metropolis (a. Parish Priests and their Families, b. Parish Council Members, c. The President of the Ladies Philoptochos Society, d. The Youth Director), 15. The Metropolis Executive Board, etc.

Thoughts and proposals exchanged at the meeting included: 1. The organization of art, literature, poetry, musical, photo, and innovations exhibitions, with awards to be given to outstanding pieces, 2. The formation of a save the date promotional banner and flyers, 3. The printing of notebooks, pens, and badges for volunteers and committee members with the logo, theme, and date of the Congress, 4. The sending of a letter to local area Greek schools inviting them to participate in a contest for the Congress logo, 5. The preparation of a schedule of activities for children throughout the duration of the Clergy-Laity Congress, 6. The drafting of a pitch letter and sponsorship page for sponsors, 7. The preparation of a budget for the Clergy-Laity Congress, 8. The adoption of a resolution regarding who will be entitled to represent each parish, the fixed cost of Congress participation fees, and the percentage that parishes and the Holy Metropolis will contribute, respectively.


The meeting concluded with a dinner at an area Greek restaurant, where the parish council of the Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation in Oslo joined Metropolitan Cleopas and the members of the new committee.