TRUE TO the Anglican ethos, the Anglican Church in Athens fosters good relations and works alongside other Christian denominations in the city.
Churches working together to assist refugees passing through Greece.
Since March 2009, the Anglican Church in Athens has worked closely with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens and an African Pentecostal Church in Athens to help finance, staff and distribute 800 meals daily to impoverished and homeless refugees and Greeks. This is a project known as ‘Church in the Street’.
The Anglican Church in Athens lends support to the work of the Salvation Army in Athens in bringing relief to refugees camping in the squares of the Greek capital.
In September 2015, the Anglican Church in Athens hosted a delegation from ‘Churches Together in Britain and Ireland’ that travelled to Greece focusing on the refugee crisis. The delegation went to the northern border of Greece with FYROM to see and hear from the refugees themselves and the aid organisations working on the border. It then moved to Athens to meet with various personnel involved with the refugee crisis from the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of Sweden and the UNCHR. This led to exploring other programmes related to refugees, in association with the Greek Orthodox Church. The Anglican Church in Athens assists by passing on donations sent to it from chaplaincies in Europe and donors in Britain and beyond.
The Anglican Church in Athens provides English conversation lessons, art classes and the occasional visit to exhibitions and places of entertainment for refugees who are unaccompanied migrants living in a residence established by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens.
In January 2015, the Anglican Church in Athens responded to a call from the Ecumenical Representative for Migrants (an officer of the Greek Orthodox Church) to a humanitarian crisis in the Amigdaleza Detention Centre for refugees. Four detainees had died during the coldest week of the year. A large quantity of clothes, toiletries, sleeping, bags, shoes, socks and warm rainproof garments were gathered from among the English-speaking community of Athens and sent to the centre.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Sadly, this is not widely observed in Greece. The Anglican Church in Athens is always present at the annual services provided in the Greek capital by the Roman Catholic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church and the German Evangelical Church. The Anglican Church in Athens has been instrumental in establishing the occasional informal gathering of foreign and indigenous Churches in Athens.
The Greek Orthodox Church
The Senior Chaplain is Apokrisiarios (representative) of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Archbishop of Athens and is charged with fostering and developing good relations between the two Churches. In 2000 and in the subsequent years, the Greek Orthodox Church was very supportive in the annual provision made over three years to mark the murder of the British Defence Attaché, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, by the terrorist group N17. His Beatitude Christodoulos, the then Archbishop, allowed two memorial services to be held in his presence in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Athens. He himself attended a third service in St Paul’s (it is believed that this was the first time an Archbishop of Athens attended an act of worship in St Paul’s). In 2006, an official delegation from the Greek Orthodox Church was hosted in London by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 2009 an official delegation from the Church of England visited the Orthodox Church of Greece. In late November 2010, the Archbishop of Canterbury was the guest of the Orthodox Church of Greece for four days. In the meanwhile, the Anglican Church has contributed personnel and finances to various humanitarian programmes established by the Greek Orthodox Church in Athens. It has also helped in finding grants for Orthodox theological graduates to study in the Britain. The Anglican Church in Greece is particularly grateful for the support it received from the Greek Orthodox Church in obtaining its legal status in 2014.