The war in Ukraine leads to the end of unity of the Orthodox world, Secretary General of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) Maximos Charakopoulos said on Thursday, during the beginning of the Assembly's works in Limassol, Cyprus. The meeting is hosted by the Cyprus Parliament and brings together parliamentarians from 14 parliaments of European, Asian and African countries. On the agenda are issues related to the war in Ukraine, the future of Europe, the unity of the Orthodox world, the dangers for Christians in the Middle East, the violation of Christian monuments in Turkey, Syria, Nagorno-Karabakh, Kosovo and the occupied territories of Cyprus. Addressing the opening session of the deliberations Charakopoulos said that the participants have gathered in Cyprus, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, West and East, which developed from the time of the Apostles as a durable bastion of Christianity. He praised the role of the Cyprus MP representative at the IAO Panikos Leonidou, head of the Cyprus delegation, saying that his role served as a catalyst in the Assembly. Charakopoulos said that IAO has condemned the Russian invasion in Ukraine and the violation of the principles of international law and calls on involved states to come to the table of negotiations and to resolve their differences in a peaceful way. ?e also said that the success of the unity of the Orthodox world, which was the vision of the initiators of the establishment of the IAO 30 years ago, is badly affected by the war in Ukraine. He added that the President of IAO, Russian Sergey Cavrilov is a member of the Duma and because of the sanctions he cannot attend the various meetings of the Assembly. IAO Secretary General expressed his condolences to the Turkish and Syrian people for the devastating earthquake, as well as to Greece for the tragic train accident in Tempi. On behalf of the Cyprus Parliament, MP Panikos Leonidou welcomed the delegates and reminded them that Cyprus was a founding member of the organization in 1993 and contributes to its activities since then. He spoke of the importance of the unity of the Orthodox world and its role in the principles and values that are at the background of our cultures. Leonidou noted the importance of the protection of Christian monuments and reminded all of the destruction of monuments in the occupied areas of Cyprus by Turkey following the 1974 invasion. He called on delegates to exert their influence in their national parliaments to accede to the "Nicosia Convention" for cultural heritage, signed during the Cyprus Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in 2017. The opening ceremony was addressed by video conference, by the Russian President of IAO Sergey Gavrilov. On Saturday the volume of "Hagia Sophia: The Temples of God's Wisdom around the world", will be presented and includes 37 historical emblematic temples dedicated to the Wisdom of God, from the British Isles to China and among them are also temples in Cyprus. IAO SG Charakopoulos said that this is a cause that affects not only the Christians world, the Orthodox or Catholics, but the whole world. He also said that this is an opportunity to point out similar cases of looting of Christian Orthodox monuments in Cyprus and elsewhere. The delegates will meet today with Archbishop Georgios, the President of the Republic, the President of the Parliament, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Mayor of Nicosia.
Source: Cyprus News Agency