An exhibition featuring works of painting and photography created by unaccompanied refugee children hosted in the shelters of the “SYNYPARXIS” organization of the Church of Greece is taking place at the “Melina” Cultural Center of the Municipality of Athens in Thissio.
The exhibition opened its doors during a special ceremony held yesterday afternoon in the presence of His Eminence Metropolitan of Ilion, Mr. Athanagoras, representing His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Mr. Hieronymus, the Minister of Migration and Asylum, Mr. D. Kairidis, and the Mayor of Athens, Mr. K. Bakoyannis.
The exhibition is titled “Journeying from Yesterday to Today” and has stirred enthusiasm among those who had the pleasure of visiting it. Through the works of the refugee children, visitors embark on a virtual journey through the children’s spontaneous expressions. War, fear, displacement, and separation are interchanged with hope, dreams, optimism, and security.
Above all, they highlight their transition from darkness to light. As His Beatitude the Archbishop emphasized, these children found a safer life here in Greece, thanks to the efforts of the Greek Church. Greece embraced them, and through the Church’s work and shelters, these children will forever remember how they found a place to live and contribute.
The Minister of Migration and Asylum, in his remarks, addressed this significant event and the Church’s work in helping people in need. Mayor K. Bakoyannis highlighted the close cooperation between the Municipality and “SYNYPARXIS”, emphasizing the vital role the Church plays in challenging times. The President of OPANDA expressed her joy that such an important exhibition is taking place with the support of OPANDA and noted the numerous collaborations with “SYNYPARXIS”.
The President of the Organization, Metropolitan Mr. Athanagoras, welcomed the distinguished guests and discussed the challenges faced in this demanding work. He emphasized that the Church will continue unwaveringly with this significant work, the results of which are evident in the children’s works in the exhibition. General Director of “SYNYPARXIS”, Fr. Panteleimon Papasynephakis, concluded the inauguration ceremony by stating, “The children present their past and present lives. A life that, thanks to the Church of Greece, seems safer. A life that, your continuous interest, Mr. Minister, Mr. Kairidis, and all those working with you, can further benefit our homeland. A life, especially here in our capital, dear Mayor, Mr. Bakoyannis, with the many actions and opportunities you provide for a better future. For this future, “SYNYPARXIS”, under the presidency of His Eminence Metropolitan Mr. Athanagoras, the other distinguished members of the Board of Directors, the Eminences of Nea Ionia and Thessaliotidos, and the dozens of our collaborators, works tirelessly.”
The exhibition is held under the auspices of the President of the Republic, Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and will run until September 10th. It serves as an invitation to get to know these children and support their efforts.
The opening ceremony was attended by various distinguished guests, including the Secretary of the Holy Synod, Most Reverend Bishop Philotheos of Oreoi, the General Hierarchical Commissioner of the Archdiocese, Archimandrite Jacobos Andriopoulos, the General Hierarchical Commissioner of the Metropolitan of Ilion, Archimandrite Ioannis Raptis, the General Director of the Pastoral and Educational Institute, Theologian Alexandrakis, the Ambassadors of Estonia and Palestine, representatives from the Embassies of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States, the Head of the Greek Manpower Employment Organization (OAED), Mr. G. Rocco, the President of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), Dr. Antonios Avgerinos, a delegation from AEK Basketball Club, the President of KEAD, Ms. Melina Daskalaki, and many others.