Holy Mount Athos, December 27, 2014
The Holy Kinot of Mt. Athos has sent an open letter to the dean of the School of Theology of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki.
AgionOros.ru has published extracts from this message.
In the Holy Kinot’s view, the initiative of studying Islam within the scope of the School of Theology, formerly oriented exclusively towards the Orthodox tradition, “is a serious mistake and clearly contradicts the teaching of the Holy Fathers… This step is directed against theology and against the Orthodox Church Itself.”
Copies of the letter, signed by representatives of all the Athonite monasteries, were also sent to the Greek Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, dean of the University of Thessaloniki as well as teachers of the University of Aristotle, reports AgionOros.ru.
According to earlier reports by Afonit.info portal, establishment of the Center for Islamic Studies at the School of Theology of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki provoked active protests from the brethren of the Athonite monasteries.
“How can the Holy Gospel and the Qur’an be taught in the same school?” wrote the brethren of the Karakallou Monastery on Mt. Athos. They believe that such decisions of the state authority “will lead to a change of religious feeling, to the loss of the cultural and national identity.” According to the Athonite monks, the mentioned initiative of the Greek civil authorities is especially ill-timed in the current circumstances, when “our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria and other Middle East states are being brutally persecuted by Islamists”.