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Organized by the Volos Academy for Theological Studies in cooperation with the mental health organization “Health Progress” and the Youth Association of the Metropolis of Demetrias

1st meeting of the dialogue between Theology and Psychology

On Monday, March 20th, 2017, the first meeting of the dialogue between Theology and Psychology on the topic “Marriage or love? Marriage and love!” was successfully held at crowed conference center “FORUM” (Volos). A considerable number of people attended the event to hear the invited speakers, the psychiatrist Iakovos Martidis and Fr. Charalambos Papadopoulos (Livios), priest of St. Eirini church in Pyrgos (Crete) and writer.

Mr. Martidis was referred to the indifference observed in relation to erotic love within marriage, a fact attributed not to the detriment of the relationship itself, but to its natural evolution. Human physiology renders the long-term love and its biological effects harmful. As it has been noted by the psychotherapist, who is also a prolific writer of books on family and marriage affairs, the replacement of the feeling of eros by the deeper feeling of love between the companions protects more the body and the mental life of human being than hurts the marriage. When it came to the question “marriage or love?” Mr. Martidis strictly answered “marriage and love!”. In his talk, Fr. Charalambos Papadopoulos spoke about the relationship between eros and faith, describing the living relationship with God as divine eros, while he further mentioned the two sides of eros, the luminous and creative, and the dark one, characterized by possessiveness. As he further argued, love does not constitute only a feeling but also a daily act of reception of and durability towards the otherness of the companion. It should be mentioned that Fr. Charalambos web presence and book writing boldly contribute to the mobilization of the religious public in psychology issues.

2nd meeting of the dialogue between Theology and Psychology

On Monday, March 27, 2017 the second meeting of the dialogue between Theology and Psychology, was successfully held again at the Conference Center “FORUM” (Volos) on the topic “Divorce and its impact on the families.” Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias and a considerable number of people attended again the meeting, where Fr. Antonios Kalligeris, priest of St. Philothei, Attica and Director of the Pastoral Care office for marriage and family of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens and Dr. Charis Katakis, psychotherapist and Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Relations were invited to speak.

In his talk Fr. Anthonios Kalligeris was referred to the need of seeing divorce not as the end of life, but as an opportunity to focus on the personal deficits, to heal spiritual wounds; finally as an attempt towards a more complete second marriage. He agreed that the first marriage should be honored as a path to common life, but if the couple decides to divorce, it is important for the former spouses to face separately their second marriages as an opportunity for new life. With his long pastoral experience in marriage and family affairs, Fr. Kalligeris noted that many are frustrated by marriage, since they consider it as a shelter and harbor. On the contrary, marriage is a journey into the open sea and this is the way that we should tackle with it.
Dr. Harris Katakis pointed out that many changes can take place when we conceive of divorce not as hopeless need but as an option. Without any sense of incrimination, she stressed that the children of a family that experience divorce or the children of a mixed family that has come from a divorce, usually develop resilience and live with mental health. If we see children of divorced parents to face behavioral problems, this is not due to the divorce itself, but due to the hidden unresolved conflicts of the parents, which led indeed to the divorce. Both speakers agreed that in all the occasions and whatever the critical point for one might be, the way is always that of reception and love.
The meetings featuring a “Dialogue between Theology and Psychology” on a major psycho-social issue are organized for the fifth consecutive year and constitute an annual series of double lectures, open to the general public. Their relevance is related to the fact that the same issue is approached from both the side of theologians, clergy or laity, and the side of mental health experts. During this year the attention was given to the wedding and the problems of the contemporary family, as they affect not only the lives of adults but also the psycho-emotional balance and behavior of children and adolescents. The purpose of this series of lectures is to inform the public on issues of daily concern as well as to provide the informed response on the part of theology and of pastoral psychology for the related psychosocial problems; and of course the expectation, that these two parallel albeit different approaches, that of theology and psychology will find possible ways of close cooperation, in order to finally become a dialogue.

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