On Friday, 20 October 2023, at the Conference Centre of the Holy Metropolis of Rethymno and Avlopotamos “THEOMITOR” , the proceedings of the 1st Bioethics Conference of the Ecumenical Patriarchate began in a festive atmosphere, in the presence of the Representative of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, His Eminence Archbishop Evgenios of Crete, President of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Church of Crete, Their Eminences, Metropolitan Nikolaos Mesogaia and Lavreotiki, Metropolitan Myron of New Zealand, Metropolitan Ieronymos of Kampala and Metropolitan Prodromos of Rethymno and Avlopotamos, Their Graces, Bishop Smaragdos of Daphnoussia and Bishop Methodios of Knossos, the Honourable Member of Parliament of Rethymno and Deputy Minister of National Defence Mr. Ioannis Kefalogiannis, The Local Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Academics and a large audience.
After the Sanctification of the Waters Service (Agiasmos), which was performed by His Eminence Archbishop Evgenios of Crete, the official greetings followed under the exemplary presidency of the Grand Protosyncellus Archimandrite Theodoros, Professor of the Higher Patriarchal Ecclesiastical Academy of Crete, who introduced the theme of the Conference.
Firstly, the Message of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was read by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia and President of the Organising Committee of the Conference. Afterwards, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, in his capacity as President of the Synodal Committee on Bioethics of the Ecumenical Patriarchate addressed a greeting to the delegates, followed by His Eminence Archbishop Evgenios of Crete, and then the local Shepherd, His Eminence Metropolitan Prodromos of Rethymno and Avlopotamos. Further greetings were offered by the Honourable Ms. Maria Lioni, Vice-Regional Governor of Crete, on behalf of the Regional Governor of Crete, The Honourable Archon of the Great Church of Christ, Mr. Stavros Arnaoutakis, the Honorable Mr. Georgios Marinakis, Mayor of Rethymno, and the Honourable Professor of Medicine Mr. Georgios Kontakis, Dean of the University of Crete. The Associate Professor Mr. Michael Stroumbakis, President of the Higher Patriarchal Ecclesiastical Academy of Crete, also offered a greeting, which was read by the Grand Protosyncellus Archimandrite Theodoros, the President of the Conference proceedings.
This was followed by the Keynote Address of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, in which, after reference was made to the history of Bioethics, the establishment and activity of Bioethics committees in the Orthodox realm and in particular in the Ecumenical Patriarchate, presented the concept of the right between “the rights of God” and ” the rights of man” and the importance of correctly understanding and expressing the responsibility of man, as co-responsibility, for dealing with contemporary bioethical dilemmas, based on the principle of absolute respect for the sanctity of the human person.