Visits by Archbishop Anastasios and Ismail Cem

Two completely different personalities visited Athens this past week. Undoubtedly, the star was the wise, sweet, brave and unassailable in his defense of Orthodoxy, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, well-known for his admirable missionary work in an outpost of Orthodoxy. We have to build primary schools before we build churches, he said, getting his priorities right, as always. He was received in the Presidential Palace by the President of the Republic and Prime Minister Costas Simitis, where he was accompanied by Archbishop Christodoulos. Honored by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, he also gave an inspiring speech at at the Athens Academy on Christians and Muslims in Europe Today: Europe’s Contribution to the Development of Mutually Acceptable Values. The other guest star of the week was Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, who had a double mission – to present Turkish foreign policy on the issues of illegal immigration and terrorism and to avoid mentioning Cyprus and its occupied territories. He also came to launch an exhibition of his photographs of idyllic landscapes at Eleftherias Park, where one of the visitors, a representative of Turkish political refugees in Greece, made his own political statement. Tsochadzopoulos said the State plans to take an active role in limiting the damage. One way of countering the decline in inbound tourist traffic is to stimulate domestic demand.

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