The first day of the Clergy Laity Assembly in Canada began with the Divine Liturgy, celebrated by Metropolitan Sotirios. It was attended by 200 delegates; the Hon. A. Ioannidis, Consul General of Greece in Toronto; the Hon. N. Sigalas, Consul General of Greece in Montreal; the Hon. P. Anastasiadis, High Commissioner of Cyprus in Canada; and the Hon. G. Marcantonatos, Ambassador of Greece in Canada, together with his wife Vasiliki.
Following the Liturgy, the Opening Ceremonies of the Clergy Laity Assembly took place, including a prayer service and watching the video Greetings of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Upon its conclusion, all attendees chanted our Patriarch's pheme.
The Hon. P. Anastasiadis, High Commissioner of Cyprus, and the Hon. G. Marcantonatos, Ambassador of Greece in Canada, offered Greetings to all of the Clergy Laity delegates.
In both Greek and English, Metropolitan Sotirios delivered the keynote address centred on the theme of this year's Clergy Laity, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).
A luncheon followed the keynote address.
After lunch, Fr. L. Kamperidis presented on, "We are all children of God - How will we be saved." Everyone applauded at the presentation's conclusion, which was followed by a fruitful discussion and questions from the delegates.
The second presenter of the day was Dr. F. Karantonis, discussing "Raising saints: Parents and children." His speech was amazing, garnering a standing ovation from the delegates. Questions and discussion on this topic was endless.
The Grand Banquet was held on Monday evening at the beautiful Community Centre of the Greek Orthodox Community of Belleville. It was attended by all the delegates, along with parishioners from the local community.
Mr. Adam Zigouras, President of the Community, addressed the attendees first, followed by the Mayor of Belleville, who is of Greek descent, Mr. Christoforidis. The keynote speaker of the evening was the Hon. G. Marcantonatos, Ambassador of Greece. In an awe-inspiring speech, he discussed the events of May 29, 1453, the work and achievements of Hellenism in Canada, especially those of our Holy Metropolis, and the importance of cultivating the Greek language and Orthodox faith in Canada for the future of Hellenism, our faith and the Greek nation.
The last address was delivered by Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios, who thanked all the speakers, the hosting Community of Belleville, and all the organizers for the wonderfully organized Clergy Laity Assembly, Philoptochos Assembly, and Youth Assembly. In closing, His Eminence expressed to all the love, best wishes and blessings of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It was a beautiful evening, with the joy seen on the faces of the delegates and indeed all participants.
The Clergy Laity Assembly continues for two more days, followed by the Clergy Retreat of our Holy Metropolis.