Main subject: ” Security with freedom “
The 11th Annual General Assembly of the I.A.O for the year 2004 was realised in Kiev , with the presence of the President of the Parliament of Ukraine Mr. Volodymir Lytvyn.
The Central subject of the Assembly was “Security with Freedom” .
The President of the General Assembly of the I.A.O, Mr. Sergei Popov , deputy of the Russian Duma, chaired in the Assembly, while the President of the Parliament of Ukraine
Mr. Volodymir Lytvyn declared the beginning of the Assembly’s works and in his addressing speech he stressed the following:
“…The principles of Christian love have inspired our populations and this hope has become an essential element of our culture and independence of our Croatian nation. Despite the complications and difficulties we had, we managed to overcome the difficulties and in short time, religious freedom became reality. The Church as a social organisation became a particularly important element of the social life, which is very important in the Ukrainian history. .. Our people have proved that no violence, no forced imposition can play a role in our perception on the truths of orthodoxy. The cultural aspect which has been shaped through the crucial importance of the contribution of the orthodox faith needs to become part of all of our people … On behalf of the Verhovna Rada of Ukraine you I therefore welcome you. I wish you fruitful works, peace, all the good and cordial wishes in order for you to be able to fulfill your responsibilities.”
The head of the Parliamentary delegation of Ukraine , member of the I.A.O International Secretariat Mrs. Katerina Samoilyk in her welcoming message she stressed the following:
“.I would like to inform you on the 11 year history of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, which has been a long course, a reality, an elaboration of approaches, a mutual understanding if you wish and respect of one another. 11 years later, we could say that our Assembly is a successful venture, an accomplishment of each deputy of each National Parliament, participating every year in our Assembly. As for our own land, the land of Ukraine, I hope that during the small period of your staying will give you the opportunity to get acquainted with our ancient history, our Orthodox history, our spiritual values and I am convinced that we will come closer to each other and will enrich each other spiritually, which is most important for Orthodoxy…”
Reverend Metropolite of Switzerland Mr. Ieremias , represented the Ecumenical Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew . The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew , in his message to the participants stressed the following:
“…The combination of security with personal freedom is not considered an easy task during the complex days of war, riots, terrorism and their outcome of fear and distress. However, personal freedom and human rights should always be considered with respect and should not be violated by the excuse and reasoning of fear of terrorism. This is dictated by the holiness of each human being, which is deeply respected and devoted by the Orthodox Church…”
Respectively, Mr. Valery Alexeev, advisor to the I.A.O, addressed message of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Mr. Alexios, which stressed among others:
“…Your Assembly will deal with the examination of a very important subject of the modern world, related to the development of democracy within the spirit of orthodoxy. I am particularly happy that such an important Conference meeting of such an important international organisation will once more be held at a place which is under the auspices of the patriarchate of Moscow . The democratic principles and the orthodox values agree with one another. The ideals of freedom and the harmonious development of personality have always been in the centre of orthodox reality. The modern world suffers a line of threats, connected with the violation of human rights, the danger of totalitarianism. Orthodoxy and its church have always fought against these threats, fought against all kinds of despotism. We consider that the spiritual experience and the orthodox tradition will help you find the appropriate solutions, appropriate directions, which will allow for the removal of dividing lines, to deal with problems such as poverty, terrorism and moral crisis…”
Vicar Mr. Mitrophanes represented Reverend Metropolite of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Volodymir, who stressed the following in his message to the participants:
“…Your present interparliamentary assembly, dedicated to the program of freedom and security shows us that the world which God gave us becomes everyday less secure for the existence of man, peoples and every living being. The technological and ecological problems, the armed forces constantly keep humanity alert and put life itself in danger. The international terrorism, the intended murders of innocent people for political expediencies. Orthodoxy considers terrorism as the highest sin and that there is no justification for terrorist acts. Combating terrorism, fighting evil, an ultimate and inhuman evil. The world society proposes methods, such as the absolute control of life and human activity. It appears that a very important problem concerning the parameters of freedom of the world in the modern world is emerging. Do they have the right of existence? And who will determine these freedoms? And how can a person sacrifice? What can be sacrificed in the name of his personal security and security of all other people? …. The religious meaning of man’s freedom is different from the perception of society. The knowledge of truth gives us freedom. From the orthodox viewpoint, free man means the believer, the unfaithful man is led to the way of sin and immorality…”
The President of the I.A.O General Assembly Mr. Sergei Popov , read a message of the President of the State Duma of the Russian Federation , Mr. Boris Grizlov , which stressed among others:
“…The problems to be discussed during the 11 th General Assembly are among the most complex and opportune, under the current circumstances of combating terrorism at an international level. It is particularly important for the rights and freedoms of people to be preserved. We hope that the Interparliamentary Assembly will support balanced approaches, are based on the long-standing history of Christianity. Boris Gryzlov, I wish fruitful works to the participants of the 11 th General Assembly of the I.A.O…”
Respectively, the I.A.O alternate Secretary General Mr. Nikolaos Nikolopoulos, representative of the Hellenic Parliament , read welcoming message of the President of the Greek Parliament Mrs. Anna Psarouda-Benaki , which stressed among others:
“.The Hellenic Parliament has supported the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, from its start, with exceptional interest, an important initiative that deputies undertook with the participation of very few parliaments and today this organization has evolved to an international organization including a greater number of parliaments. The Hellenic Parliament will continue to support this effort by all possible means, since throughout these 11 years of your Interparliamentary Assembly a great number of useful views have been presented and made known through your activities. Wishes for great success in the 11 th Interparliamentary Assembly…”
The Secretary General of the I.A.O Mr. Stylianos-Angelos Papathemelis in his inaugural speech stressed:
“..I would like to present some thoughts, on the subject we selected this year as the main subject of our discussions. The subject is: “Security with Freedom”. It could be “Security and Freedom” or it could be stated as a question, “Security or Freedom?” In any case the right and proper answer to the orthodox anthropology is as it has been stated: “Security with Freedom”. We wish to be free and live a free life, our free life, to be secure, to be free of danger inside our countries, or from external threats and dangers, which are against our national borders. I want to believe that there is no such thing as “Relation of invalid amount” between the terms of Freedom and Security. On the contrary: Relation of dialectic interdependence. The orthodox life, the orthodox proposal for life considers freedom as man’s privilege. Apostle Pavlos informs us that freedom is a proposal of life for a loving society, a new possession, a new person, an interpretation which makes everything new. There is a loving harmonious relation between the three factors, God, the fellowman and ourselves..I would like to tell you that these past days in an intergovernmental frame we also had the following revolting phenomenon, in the European Union Assembly, wherein the last version of the first European Constitution is formulated. The head of the Constitutional Assembly, former president of France Ziskar D’ Esten had used this phrase from the Epitaph of Pericles of Thoukidides as a motto, but as proposed by various countries this phrase was deleted. It was deleted for the reason that it does not refer “to all” but refers “to many”, and thus the principle of discriminations, which our civilization inherited from Klisthenous democracy in ancient Athens , has been consolidated. This has been also confirmed by the Canonical Law of the Orthodox Church, which defines “the opinion of the majority governs”. This opinion constitutes the decision, the law…
Undoubtedly the democratic policy, which is the structural consolidation of freedom, as well as the process for security and its terms, needs to be protected. This protection often, in the interior of countries, uses the criminal phenomenon and criminal law as a tool and, from time to time, one can see the will of the authorities around the world to make the institutional frame stronger, which will not necessarily lead to the consolidation of security..
I would like to stress, mainly, that September 11 constituted a dramatic event not only for the United States , where this took place, but for the entire world. And with no doubt no logically thinking citizen around the world would support terrorism, organised crime, mafia, various fundamentalisms, leading to this situation. At the moment, the five power sectors of the world, political, cultural, economic, technological and military, are in the hands of the one and only superpower. It is important to know which type of omnipotence the ones who manage this superpower use. An incorrect attempt, an error in handling this force can obliterate humanity, or parts of humanity in various points around the world, and cause mourning, bloodbath, tragedies, world tragedies…
In the frame of all this terror-hysteria, caused by September 11, there is a series of new theories, comprising the new superpower dogma. In these fabricated arguments one can include strengthening of the structure of the criminal law and legal procedure around the world.
I wanted to point out the following: terrorism, as appeared in the events of September 11, and March 11 in Madrid , is hyper-terrorism, which does not have the characteristics of internal terrorism, as experienced in the European countries and in our own country as well. Terrorists, in the frame of common terrorism, are individuals whose mission is to kill, to wipe out other fellowmen, basically innocent, but mainly do not want to be killed themselves. Their basic objective is to survive death, to escape. In the phenomenon of hyper-terrorism, in the United States and lately in Spain , terrorists are acting with the so called power of the desperate. The power of the desperate is an enormous power, pointed out by the ancient Greek historian, Xenophon, who said: “No one can resist the desperate”. Reason is that they do not value their life. They dedicate their lives, not to kill (they kill of course and apparently they kill a large number), but to be killed. This is what is important and makes the difference. I would say that if someone attempted to solve these known phenomena of interior terrorism, there is significance in the structural frame, which is important for the result. If someone wants to confront pro-terrorism, these measures are completely hilarious.
A few days ago Mr. Solana, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the European Union, wrote on issues for security in the European Union and informed us that 90% of heroin in Europe today, goes through the Balkan countries and comes from Afghanistan . I do not have anything else to say but to remind you that during the bombarding of Afghanistan , I was astonished that none of the laboratories of heroin production was bombarded! They remained untouched. However, I think that “producers” are not those who grow poppy, the villagers who sell with poppy by the kilo to the merchants. They are the wholesalers and they are the Governments which are the intermediaries for heroin to reach the European countries and of course wipe out the youth of these countries. A lot of things around the world happen through strange coincidences. Vlasios Paskal in his “Thoughts” informs us that if Cleopatra’s nose was smaller, the fate of the world would be completely different. I conclude with the wise quote of Benjamin Franklin “those who choose to replace freedom with security, do not deserve neither freedom nor security”…”
Finally, the President of the General Assembly of the I.A.O, Mr. Sergei Popov, said the following:
“… I wish to point out certain aspects of our central subject, since this subject is unlimited and the cross-correlation of philosophical side, as we heard in the reports, requires a multisided analysis. In the relevant statement I.A.O. reports on the subject of the General Assembly of this year it is stated that the restriction of terrorism may lead to restrictions of freedoms that were so far considered as given.
Very often we as parliamentarians are compelled to establish unpopular laws in order to respond to the challenges of terrorism. We do not have the right for delay.
How can we fight the terrorism by limiting the natural rights of human beings? This is not a philosophical problem but a moral problem which emerges vis-a-vis each parliamentarian.
We have witnessed the efforts of terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq but also in Russia , Spain and Serbia and also in a lot of other countries in the world. Today the security is tried upon.
The threat of terrorism is the most dreadful threat of our times, having assumed an international character. There is no country in the world secured from terrorism and terrorism can only be dealt with through common efforts of the world community. It was already pointed out by the colleagues that the terrorist organizations possess important economic resources, which are getting enriched by various splinter and criminal organizations in the world, and in some cases-by a direct or indirect sustenance of a few countries.
A direct threat against the basic values towards the creation of the big Europe is also organized crime and the proliferation of mass destruction weapons, regional conflicts, crises, the crises of public administration system. Undoubtedly, all these public threats influence the restrictions of freedoms and rights of human beings, as pointed out by some of our reporters, simultaneously, the creation of certain safety measures against these threats also limits human rights, and therefore we as legislators are obliged to find a balance between freedom and security.
The security measures dictate also a special way of behavior and limit the free choice of people. When a society experiences fear and insecurity, its majority may welcome the establishment of control; it may assume with pleasure the restrictions of freedom for guarantying alleged stability and security. In order for security and freedom to obtain the form of a specific legal system, it will have to pass through national awareness, and be recognized as a practical necessity, as a directive of national life.
The Christian principle of respect for freedom of human beings is combined organically with the Synodness of Orthodoxy. It does not have external legal frames. It is characterized by internal intellectual principles. The freedom is one of the values inherited by God.
The spirit of Orthodoxy is not an exotic element; it is an essential element of our society, a basis of our existence. The Orthodox approach of the world and the way of life are not whims of history, being preserved for 20 centuries, but a preservation of the history itself, of the past, the present and the future.
Russia is a model of inter-religious collaboration. It is one of the most efficient forms of fighting terrorism. On March, 2-4, 2004 we held in Moscow the 2 nd Inter-religious Peace Forum, during which the Commonwealth of Independent States was proclaimed a unique place for dialogue of inter-religious character. In the adopted document of the Forum it is stated that: “The participants of the Forum are convinced that religion can and will play a unifying and conciliating role in the Commonwealth, promoting the achievement of consensus and stability between the countries and peoples. We believe that due to our united efforts we may overcome the enmity between nations, threat of terrorism and extremism as well as the loss of our independence and freedom ».
The creation of this inter-religious council of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the practical manifestation of the Forum, will coordinate activities of the traditional religious organisations of the countries-members of the C.I.S. with the aim of strengthening international peace consensus and stability within society, as well as, promoting dialogue between intellectual leaders and strengthening of intellectual basis.
Russia has chosen the common values of Europe . This choice is irreversible . For this reason we seek the construction of a united and thriving Europe which will be alleviated from the dividing lines of the past. The cooperation of Russia with Europe can provide both partners with motives for a further development. It will be a fruitful and constructive collaboration of all the united spiritual efforts of the national and cultural components of Europe .
Among the strategic goals for the unification of Russia and the European Union, the President of the Russian Federation Mr. V. Putin in his speech to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation underlined the necessity for the creation of common areas of economy and trade, internal and external security, science and culture. He also emphasized that: “it is necessary that the European Union enlargement should unite us not only geographically but economically and spiritually as well”…
Concluding, I would like to point out that our international actions can be effective only if they are supported by Parliaments and States at most, and therefore measures for security and combating terrorism should be consistent with the principles of democracy and basic freedoms and human rights.”
Experts on the central subject presented their views during the works of the plenary Session:
Mr. Georgios Mantzaridis, Professor Emeritus of Theology of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Greece and Mr. Nikolaos Bitzilekis, Law Professor at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Delegations from 18 parliaments – members of the I.A.O participated in the Assembly:
Greece , Russia , Cyprus , Albania , Australia , Bulgaria , Belarus , Georgia , Estonia , Latvia , Lithuania , Moldova , Palestine , Poland , Romania , Serbia and Montenegro , Ukraine , USA . In addition, the Vice President of the organisation “SYNDESMOS” of the Orthodox youths.
The General Assembly elected the new organs of the I.A.O.
The works of the General Assembly were concluded with the adoption of the following documents: