A Greek-Iranian Interfaith Webinar was held on September 7th, 2020 in the frame of interfaith dialogue between Orthodox Christianity and Islam, initiated by the Cultural Center of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in cooperation with the General Secretariat for Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs as well as with the Volos Academy for Theological Studies. The Webinar, which had the character of a pre-conference meeting of an interfaith conference in Tehran, which was impossible to take place due to the spread of coronavirus, was prefaced by the Cultural Counsellor of the Cultural Center of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Mahdi Nik Khak Ghomi.
Afterwards, His Eminence Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias delivered an address emphasizing the need for dialogue between various religious communities, as a method of overcoming fanaticism, intolerance and engaging in vicious cycles of violence and retaliation, especially in the difficult conditions of coronavirus pandemic.
The head of Interreligious Dialogue and civilization of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Taskhiri, who was the Discussion Coordinator, presented his views on the organized efforts of the Iranian State to deal with the pandemic.
During his presentation “Eastern Orthodoxy and the challenge of COVID-19”, the Deputy Director of Volos Academy for Theological Studies, Nikolaos Asproulis pointed out the specific ways, in which Orthodoxy could contribute to the ongoing discussion around coronavirus and he highlighted the important role religion can play in the midst of this pandemic.
The Coordinator of the Network of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Pastoral Health Care, Rev. Dr. Stavros Kofinas developed the dimension of spirituality in human religious consciousness, in his speech “Integrating the ‘Forgotten Dimension’ of Care into Health Care Practices – an Orthodox’ view of nurturing spirituality”.
The Professor of philosophy of religion and ethics at URD (Qom, Iran), Seyed Hassan Eslami Ardakani presented the principles of nutrition in Islamic Persian medicine, on his topic “Health and embodiment: an Islamic approach” and he mentioned the deep relationship between religion and health.
In conclusion, the Professor of Tehran University and Director of Molecular Immunology Research Center in Iran, Doctor Mohammad Hossein Nicknam spoke about the reciprocity between religion and science in his presentation “Religion and Science Can Go Hand in Hand in Response to COVID-19”.
Interfaith meetings, as this one, promote cooperation among religious communities towards mutual respect and understanding, against any kind of religious radicalism. The COVID-19 pandemic, after all, has exposed the global scale of problems. The only way to defeat the pandemic is a universal mobilization of solidarity. The seminar touched on current issues and raised questions shedding light on spiritual dimension of human religious consciousness.
To read speakers’ C.V. click here