A meeting of the Volos Academy of Theological Studies with a delegation from the Theological Academy of Kyiv of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which has been visiting Greece, took place on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. Volos Academy was represented by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, H.E. Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias, its director, Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis, and many of its Research Associates and Staff members. The nine-member Ukrainian delegation was headed by the H.E. Theodoros, Metropolitan of Poltava, Head of the Synodal Committee for Youth of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Rector of the Theological Academy of Kyiv and Head of the Synodal Committees for Religious Education, and for the Calendar, Archpriest Oleksandr Trofymliuk, the Consul of Ukraine in Thessaloniki Oleksandr Sosoniuk and distinguished members of clergy and laity.
Presenting the twenty-three-year long history of the Volos Academy, its director Dr Pantelis Kalaitzidis emphasized its interest in common grounds of theology with contemporary thought, and underlined the support Volos Academy provided to the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine from the very first moment, with summer school programs for clergy and theologians from Ukraine in as early as 2019. He also highlighted the fact that Volos Academy was one of the pioneers of the well-known Declaration against the Teaching of the Russian World, the teaching that provides the religious background to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. H.E. Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias, referred to the constant support of the Ukrainian autocephaly by the Metropolis of Demetrias and conveyed the overall support of the Orthodox Church of Greece to the war-tested but admirable Ukrainian people, wishing for the quick restoration of justice and peace. In his reply, H.E. Theodoros, Metropolitan of Poltava, thanked Volos Academy for the cooperation steps that have been taken so far, reminding that the Ukrainians are currently fighting not just for their homeland, but for their very lives; while the rector, Oleksandr Trofymliuk, reminding the centuries-long history of the Academy of Kyiv –despite the interruption of its operation during the Soviet period– and its ties with university institutions in Greece, he expressed the belief that the relations between the two Academies will be strengthened to achieve common goals. He emphasized the need for renovation of theological studies and their orientation towards contemporary topics, as well as the need to exchange expertise in all matters and he invited Dr Kalaitzidis to participate in the scientific committee of the publications department of the Kyiv Academy. At the conclusion of the speeches, the two sides exchanged gifts and signed a memorandum of cooperation, while the director of Volos Academy took the Ukrainian delegation on a tour of the premises of the Conference Center in Melissatika, which gave an occasion for discussions on the detailed modes of operation, the cooperation with the researchers, the administration of archival material, etc.