The warm response of clergy and laity to the free educational programs of the Pastoral Training Foundation of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens (IPE) was confirmed once again by the massive participation in the last training period of the co-financed program in the years 2018-2021 that will be completed in December 2021.
In particular, the need to train and strengthen the skills of the clergy and lay members of the Church to face modern challenges, as well as the wider effort to highlight the rich theological and cultural heritage of the Orthodox Tradition, led to the decision of Archbishop Ieronymos II, Chairman of the Board of IPE, to continue the distance training programs during the months September-December 2021. Aid in this effort to open the Church to society is the great success of the 260 programs implemented so far in the entire country, through live and online programs, the participation of which amounted to 6,600. These programs are part of the implementation of the Act “Development of Human Resources Capabilities in Social Welfare Services emphasizing on Church Structures” belonging to Operational Program “Development of Human Resources and Lifelong Learning” implemented with the co-financing of the European Union from the European Social Fund and national resources.
During the last training period of September-December 2021, the participations in the distance learning programs reached 693 (239 clergy, 454 laity) from all over the country except the Attica region, an area in which the foreseen number of trainees has already been completed.
The initiation of the program was made, from the side of IPE, by the deputy director, Reverend Archimandrite Theologos Alexandrakis, who expressed the paternal wishes and blessings of His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece Mr. Ieronymos II, as well as his personal gratitude for the vital contribution of the Ministries of Education and Religion and Development and Investment, trainers and all participants. Present at the beginning of the programs was, on behalf of the Ministry of Development, the head of the Lifelong Learning Operations Management Unit of the Special Secretariat for Programs of the European Social Fund, Ms. Florentia Karavata, who as the supervisor of the implementation of the programs expressed her deep thanks for the flawless cooperation with I.P.E. and with Church in general.
Specialized presentations were also made per thematic unit. The thematic unit “Ecclesiastical welfare support in problems of childhood and adolescence” in which 229 trainees participate began with the presentation of the emeritus professor of pedagogy and former vice-chancellor of the University of Crete Mr. Ioannis Pyrgiotakis. The thematic unit “Social welfare ecclesiastical intervention in problems of mourning” in which 149 trainees participate began with the presentation of the Very Reverend Archpriest Vassilios Chrysopoulos, president of the Special Ecclesiastical Council of Cemeteries of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens. The thematic unit “Prevention of domestic violence” in which 185 trainees participate began with the presentation of Ms. Efrosini Spanea, PhD in Clinical Psychology, scientific advisor at the Special Secretariat for Gender Equality.
Specialized presentations on the aim and content of the programs were also made by: The Most Respected Metropolitans of Alexandroupolis Mr. Anthimos, Maroneias and Komotinis Mr. Panteleimon, Lemnos and Agios Efstratios Mr. Ierotheos, Mr. Christos Karagiannis deputy professor and dean of Faculty of Theology at EKPA, Mr. Chrysostomos Stamoulis, professor, dean of the Theological School of AUTH., the Very Reverend Archpriest Christoforos Chronis, PhD in Theology from the Holy Monastery of Aetolia and Acarnania, the Very Reverend Archpriest Dimitrios Keskinis, PhD in Theology from the Holy Monastery of Alexandroupolis, the Very Reverend Archpriest Theodoros Tsampatzidis, from the Holy Monastery of Nea Krini and Kalamaria, the Reverend Archimandrite Iakovos Kanakis, PhD in Theology, From the Holy Monastery of Gortynos and Megalopolis, the first Lieutenant Sofia-Maria Kyriakou, Head of the Domestic Violence Department of the General Police Directorate of the Hellenic Police Headquarters and other distinguished rapporteurs.
The warm response for the programs of IPE is evident from the intense interest shown for the new cycle of free programs of the period 2021-2023, in the framework of which training will be offered in 20 thematic units, live or remote in synchronous and asynchronous form, in ecclesiastical, ritual and administrative issues, such as worship, chanting, the formal, the aesthetics and the administration of the temple, but also key issues of modern life, such as coexistence with the different, vulnerable social groups, ecology and new technology.