Visit of Minister of National Defense Nikos Dendias to the Patriarchate of Alexandria and meeting with Patriarch Theodore II

The Minister of National Defence, Nikos Dendiasvisited yesterday, Tuesday, December 19, 2023, as part of his official visit to Egypt, Alexandria, where he was received by the ATHM Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa etc.. Theodore II in the Patriarchate.

During the visit His Beatitude awarded the Minister the highest honor of the Patriarchal Throne, the Grand Cross of Saint Mark with a star.

During his opposition to the address of Mr. Theodorou II, Mr. Dendias said:

“Your Grace, Holy Fathers, Your Excellency Mr. Ambassador, Officers, ladies and gentlemen, I am not going to waste your time with a long exclamation. But I feel the need, Your Grace, to thank you for the immense honor you bestowed on my humility.

You will allow me to take it as addressed not to me personally, but to the role that the Greek state, the Greek State and the Armed Forces, of which I am the political Head, play for stability and peace in our wider region and also for the close cultivation of our relations with the great country of Egypt, in which you minister.

But you will allow me, in addition, to note three things. The first is your ministry in Egypt, which I have already mentioned. This great country, the country of 100 million is a country of particular importance, first of all, for our small country, but beyond that, for Europe and for peace in the region.

So your ministry here has a huge added value. The sermon of love and peace that you are formulating has for us a very, very great importance.

The presence of Orthodoxy here, the presence of the historic Patriarchate of which, by God’s mercy, you preside, has for us an enormous value, which you, with your modesty and the moderation of your speech, therefore fail to underline.

The second is your role in the wider continent of Africa. Your blessedness, I will not suffer glaucus in Athens, much less in Alexandria, you brought it up again with extraordinary finesse. Africa is the fastest growing continent on the planet both in terms of population and economy. If one looks at a simple statistical approach, without any special need for insight, the numbers of any statistical agency on this planet, one will diagnose that in the next century Africa will be an economic and population superpower.

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In this sense, also, your presence on this continent, your constant ministry, your constant movements, your contact with the flock of a vast continent, is something which in principle gives added value to Orthodoxy, which we all believe, but in addition you will allow me a small portion to bestow as a profit on our little country.

You were also kind enough in your address to mention the use of the Greek language as an element of particular importance for Greece.

The third, which I am not really entitled to touch on Your Beatitude, but which I would just like to mention, is your service to Orthodoxy. Precisely the fact that Africa is a country with a rapidly growing population, precisely this fact, gives the Orthodox presence on this continent another significance.

And I think precisely because of the deprivations and trials that always accompany a rapid growth and a period of transition, the Orthodox message of love and settlement tends to be the most suitable for the receptive ears of the new generation growing up on this great continent.

So you will allow me to say that for all three of these reasons I am deeply grateful to be here today, at the seat of the historic Patriarchate of Alexandria.

And the symbolism of Saint Mark, which you were kind enough to highlight, perhaps most of us know it, others not.

I come from Corfu. Corfu was under Venetian rule for many years. The Lion of Saint Mark was the symbol of Galinotati, but it was also the symbol of the first hybrid Greek state, the Ionian State. The difference is that on the Venetian Leo the Gospel is open and reads “Pax Tibi Marce Evangelista Meus”, and in our orthodox version, the Gospel is closed. It bears the orthodox cross outside and has the seven arrows of the Ionian State. Therefore, I have an emotional bond with the Patriarchate which carries Saint Mark the Evangelist as a showcase, as a prefix, as a protector. I am sure that he has under his umbrella the Patriarchate and Africa, but also our little homeland.

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I am moved, Your Grace, to be here today and I thank both you and the Holy Fathers, for the enormous honor you bestowed on the Ministry and the Armed Forces of our country through me.

Thank you very much”.

This was followed by the exchange of souvenirs, the private conversation of the Minister with the Patriarch of Alexandria and the tour of the Museum of the Patriarchate.

The visit of the Minister of National Defense was attended by the Chief Secretary of the Holy and Holy Synod, His Eminence the Metropolitan of Naukratis, Mr. Panteleimonthe Patriarchal Commissioner of Alexandria, His Eminence the Metropolitan of Pylos, Mr. Narcissusthe Ambassador of Greece in Cairo, Nikolaos Papageorgiouthe Consul General of Greece in Alexandria Ioannis Pyrgakisthe Defense Attache in Cairo, Captain Michalis Tsiligakis PN, the Liaison of the Hellenic Navy with its Egyptian counterpart, Captain Konstantinos Varouxis PN, the President of the Greek Community of Alexandria, Andreas Vafiadisclerics of the Patriarchal Court and the members of the delegation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the visit to Egypt.

Attached is the announcement of the Patriarchate of Alexandria regarding the visit of Mr. Dendias: HERE

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