Main subject: “Christianism before the challenges of the modern era”
The General Assembly was held at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Geneva with the presence of the Metropolitan Jérémie of Switzerland.
The Assembly was presided by the President of the I.A.O. General Assembly Mr. Sergei Popov. Parliamentary delegations from the following 15 parliaments – members of the I.A.O participated in the Assembly: Greece , the Russian Federation , Cyprus , Albania , Armenia, Bulgaria , Belarus , Georgia , Estonia , Latvia , Moldova , Poland , Romania , Serbia and Montenegro , Ukraine as well as members of Parliament from: Australia , the Palestinian Authority, Uganda and the USA . In addition, for the first time delegations from the Parliaments of Syria and Jordan participated as well and a delegation of the Parliament of Egypt participated with the status of observer.
A two member delegation of the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference member states headed by the Secretary General Mr. Ibrahim Ahmed Auf participated at the Assembly with the status of observer.
In addition, representatives of international organisations based in Geneva were invited to participate at the works of the Assembly. During the inaugural ceremony the following personalities addressed the Assembly: the Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Mr. Anders B. Johnsson, the Permanent Representative of the European Commission to the United Nations, Ambassador Mr. Carlo Trojan, the Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Geneva, Mrs. Ingeborg Breines, the Representative of the Secretary General of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Mr. Peter Weiderud, the Secretary General of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), Rev. Dr. Keith Clements, the co-writer of the Geneva Spiritual Appeal Group Mr. Steve Bernard and the President of the Initiatives of Change International, Mr. Cornelio Sommaruga. Greeting messages by His All Holiness T he Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as well as by the President of the Hellenic Parliament Prof. Anna Benaki, the Patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia, Alexios II and the President of the Russian State Duma Mr. Boris Grizlov, were recited during the inaugural ceremony.
The ceremony was concluded with the report on the central subject by the I.A.O. Secretary General Mr. Stylianos-Angelos Papathemelis. At the end, an a ddress in honour of the personality and work of His Eminence Metropolitan Damaskinos of Adrianople, former Director of the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, was presented by the I.A.O. advisor Dr. Kostas Mygdalis.
The following reports were presented on the central subject:
“Christianity before the challenges of the modern era – the perspective of the Catholic Church” by His Excellency the Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN.
“The Reformed Churches before the challenges of the modern era” by Dr. Aruna Gnanadason , Coordinator for Justice, Peace and Justice Team, Church of South India.
“Orthodoxy and the challenges of the modern era” by Dr. Gary Vachicouras, Institute of Postgraduate Studies in Orthodox Theology at the Orthodox Centre of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
“The contribution of the World Council of Churches to the understanding of the challenges of the modern era” by Mr. Alexander Belopopsky, Coordinator of Public Information, World Council of Churches.
“Phenomena of the modern era” by Reverend Dr. Keith Clements, General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches
The works of the General Assembly were concluded with the adoption of: