Dialogue between Christianity and Islam

In Athens, in the shadow of protests, today ends a three-day scientific seminar - Dialogue between Christianity and Islam, within an interreligious educational initiative for cooperation, with the theme titled '' The Ability of building interreligious dialogue''. The Patriarchate of Constantinople and the World Islamic Call Society both organized this seminar which lasted from December 11 to 13, 2008 in the capital of Greece.

With the blessing of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church the seminar was attended by one of our best experts on Islam Dr Darko Tanaskovic, a professor at the Faculty of Philology of the Belgrade University, a former ambassador in Turkey and the Vatican; Ms Olivera Jovanovic, a theologist from Sarajevo with an experience in working with the programs of the Interreligious council of the BiH, Dragan Cirkovic, Protonamesnik Dragan Cirkovic of Brcko, with MA in Theology, who was on similar conferences in the last decade from Jordan to Brussels, and also priest M.Sc. Gajo Gajic, the secretary of the Holy Synod for the interreligious relations of the SOC.

Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, the director of the office of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Brussels and president of the Committee for relations with Islam, opened the seminar. Then were read letters with the greetings of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Jordanian prince Hasan. On behalf of the host, the Orthodox Church of Greece and Archbishop Hieronymos, Metropolitan Panteleiomon of Xanthi addressed the meeting and on behalf of Dora Bakoyani, the foreign minister of Greece, Mr Lazaris, an ambassador in charge of interreligious relations in the ministry of foreign affairs.

On the second day of the seminar, Dr Ibrahim Rabu, from the World Islamic Call Society spoke of the significance of the interreligious dialogue. In special workshops the questions of possibilities,capabilities, obstacles and perspectives for dialogue were discussed.

Special attention was drawn to the lectures regarding on practical cooperation and relations of Christians in the Muslim society and Muslims in the Christian society. In this part of the seminar there were held lectures and presentations by the representatives of Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, France, Russia and Serbia.

A greater part of the work during the last day of the seminar was dedicated to the role and importance of the media in Muslim and Christian world, with the special emphasis on contemporary electronic media and their part and influence on interreligious relations. Since it is clear that internet, email , cell phones and other means of communications are the part of the electronic media not only newspapers, radio and television. It is pointed to the need for more active relation to the media in general, in order to put up an equal relationship.

The joint message was sent from the meeting with a purpose of fostering good relations, mutual understanding and further familiarization.