On Thursday morning, September 6, 2018, the opening of the Expatriate Ionian Greeks Conference, organized by the Region of the Ionian Islands and with the presence of Archbishop Tirana, Durres and all Albania, Mr Anastasios and the President of Hellenic Republic, Mr Prokopis Pavlopoulos, began.
Hereby follows the greeting speech of his Eminence, the Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios:
“Your Excellency, Mr President of the Hellenic Republic,
Our local church participates with great pleasure in this fine initiave of the Director of the Region of the Ionian Islands, Mr. Theodoros Galiatsatos, to organize a conference of a ceremony of Expatriate Ionian Greeks in Corfu, giving our people, especially young people, the opportunity to understand and to know an aspect of progress of the people who may leave their place for various reasons, but they proved to every country they have been what it means to be a Greek, that is, “Excellent there, Greek – a quality that makes human more honorable than anything else, “as Cavafy says.
It is not pleasant when someone leaves his home country. However, the expatriate Greek has proved that it is not just the place that makes it feel that he has a hometown. It is mainly the way, the ethos, the values, the traditions, the prosperity, the excellence, the thirst for recognition, the free mind. The basis for all these characteristics is faith in God. The communities of Greeks abroad are formed around the Parish, the Temple, the faces, the authenticity of the tradition. They may have left their place, but in the new one they inhabit, they carry with them the nostalgia and the lifestyle of Greece.
We know that throughout the island, Greeks do not remember the Saints of their particular homeland, they build the temples in their name, celebrate their memory, give their children and grandparents the names of the saints, but they overlook the fact that their traditional faith keeps them and Greeks.
It is no coincidence that those who left the country fought a lot and succeeded. It is no coincidence, however, that they believe in God and love, more strongly and with more passion, Greece. That’s why we thank them and we praise them. They remember and offer wherever they are, what they can in their land of origin.
It is an honor for us that today at this conference, you are participating Mr. President of the Hellenic Republic and you announce its start. As President of all Greeks, you show that our nation is not confined to the geographical borders of the Greek state, but honors those who are and feel the Greeks all over the world.
It is our honor today in this conference that you are present and bring with you the image and the model of the authentic Greek, being the Archbishop of Tirana, Durres and all Albania, Mr. Anastasios.
You have successfully combined both the West and the East into your face. You study science, knowledge, the assimilation of the principles of Western civilization that aim at the observance of man, the pluralism and the dialogue, but also you gave your life to the fellow people by showing in practice the love that faith and God teach us and at the same time a respect for the human person which is not limited to meeting the material needs alone, but teaches the way of salvation and finding meaning for all human existence for both present and eternal life.
We therefore wish success in the work of the conference and we welcome with pleasure and validity of the Greek Greeks wherever they come from “.