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The Prizewinners of the Order of Sankt Ignatios, 2023 and 2024!

The Order of Sankt Ignatios for 2023 and 2024 is awarded to Dr Jacob Thekkeparampil and Dr Pantelis Kalaitzidis respectively. Both recipients have contributed to maintaining an ecclesiology that promotes exchange and openness, in contrast to the fortress ecclesiology that marked the first half of the previous century, and have done so without abandoning the traditional sources of Eastern Christianity. Furthermore, Dr Thekkeparampil and Dr Kalaitzidis have each created institutions to further these goals, thereby transmitting this legacy to future generations.

Very Reverend Dr. Jacob Thekkeparampil receives the 2023 Order of Sankt Ignatios for his outstanding work in promoting studies in the Syriac tradition from an Asian perspective. Instead of viewing the Asian tradition as subordinate to Western traditions, Dr. Thekkeparampil has restored the unique historical voice of the indigenous Indian Christian tradition. Through the work of Dr. Thekkeparampil and the scholars connected to St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute (SEERI), Christianity in India is recognized as having originated prior to both Western colonization and Western confessionalization. The ecumenical perspective of Dr. Thekkeparampil’s work has been very important in preserving original indigenous perspectives beyond confessionalization and colonization, thereby promoting the Gospel proclaimed in the ancient Syriac sources, which transcend the variety of confessions, establishing the antiquity of Indian Christianity. Dr. Thekkeparampil’s work has established the connection between sources and people, people and nations, and nations to the one Church.

Dr. Kalaitzidis receives the 2024 Order of Sankt Ignatios for his work on establishing a critical perspective on Greek theology, creating a critical dialogue with church authorities, civil society, and state authorities. Through this critical dialogue, Dr. Kalaitzidis has been a crucial voice in the creation of a new paradigm in Greek theology, where theology has been detached from authority, becoming an independent voice in shaping the future of the Greek Church. The creation of Volos Academy for Theological Studies was in many ways a sequel to the Greek Orthodox Church’s developing openess towards the inter-Christian movement with its renewed understanding of mission as solidarity with all nations and all religions. Institutions like Volos Academy and scholars like Dr. Kalaitzidis were instrumental in consolidating this change within Greek Orthodoxy, especially after the departure of Archbishop Christodoulos. By offering the Order of Sankt Ignatios to Dr. Pantelis Kalaitzidis, we want to emphasize that Dr. Kalaitzidis and Volos Academy have been of major importance in maintaining the openness of the Greek Orthodox Church. Through their work, they have promoted emancipation and dialogue instead of the upholding the antiquated fortress ecclesiology that marked the early 20th century. Together with other institutions in Greece, they have contributed to guiding the Greek Orthodox Church away from the securitism and control that defined the 20th century toward the hospitable and living ecclesiology that now characterizes the Greek Orthodox Church in the 21st century. Volos, through its diocese, academy, and people, has been at the center of this change, leaving an indelible imprint on the Greek nation.