Oikosnet Europe welcomes a new member

MonoszloOikosnet Europe welcomed a new member at the Annual Conference in Chania, Crete. The new member is The Reformed Conference Centre of Monoszlo, a property of the Reformed (HB) Congregation of Monoszlo, a parish of the Reformed Church of Hungary.

The centre is commited to the education of the new generations in the spirit of mutual tolerance and understanding among all Abrahamic confessions and beyond, through sincere and open minded discussion. With an interdenominational approach it works on deepening social responsibility towards the values of the created world, with a special focus on environmental questions. In its activity it strives for overcoming obstacles laid down by political divisions.

Oikosnet Europe has today 35 member organizations from different parts of Europe. Please get in contact with the secretariat if you are interested to know more about how to become a member. office@oikosnet.eu

Member organisations of Oikosnet Europe

Help us rethink Europe together

By Walter Lüssi, president of Oikosnet Europe

Dear Colleagues, dear Members of Oikosnet Europe

Our Annual Conference took place in the Orthodoxe Academy of Crete which was founded fifty years ago. It was the right place to deal with our theme of the study day: “Europe with different eyes: The case of Greece for example”. Here Oikosnet Europe started to engage with Europe and its current problems in a new way. When I’m writing about this I’m very aware that we shall have to learn a lot in the next years. The social and political developments challenge us to make clear statements. But far beyond this: Given the fact that populism has become a new normal in Europe, we have to link our right to exist as a learning community with the question of whether we are able to find common positions based on our expertise and if we can make our voice heard.

Fifty years ago the Orthodox Academy of Crete played a pioneering role and stood from the very beginning for peace and reconciliation among churches and among people of different denominations and cultures. As a gift for the anniversary I was able to present the director of the Academy a special painting. It is a picture which says with colours and forms and with a few words only: Rethink! Rethink Europe. Help us to rethink Europe together – unlimited, making dreams true for us and for strangers. And let us create, as much as we can according to our faith, let us create not new walls, not a “Fortress Europe”, but a real community for all.

Crete was an important step towards a greater commitment which will not be one-dimensional but a joint European effort to develop a common democratic vision of our continent and to contribute to a Europe which needs again to become more human. Warmest thanks to all who has helped to make this step possible. We express our thanks to our host, the director and his staff of the Academy, to the invited experts, to the staff of Oikosnet Europe and to all participants.

Next year the Annual Conference will be held from September 11 till September 15 in the Agape Centro Ecumenico, Italy. We will have to deal again with “Europe with different eyes”, with the European civil societies and with the European dimension of other important issues like the increasing digitization of all areas of life or the field of artificial intelligence. Welcome to the two new Members of the Board of Okiosnet Europe, Kristin Gunleiksrud Raaum, Norway, as Vice President, and Karolína Silná, Czech Republic, as Treasurer. The renewed Board will involve the members active in the subject area and continue developing and strengthening the network of Oikosnet Europe.

kostas & walter



The Annual Conference in Crete


The Annual Conference of Oikosnet Europe was this year hosted by the Orthodox Academy of Crete, an academy that also celebrated it´s 50 year anniversary. As always, it was a wonderful mix of new acquaintances and reunion with old friends.

During the business meeting, two new members were elected to the board. Kristin Gunleiksrud Raaum from the Church Academies in Norway, replaced Sören Lenz from Liebfrauenberg, France as new vice President, and Karolina Silna from the Ekumenická Akademie Praha in The Czech Republic, replaced Nicola Murray from Corrymeela UK.

Two auditors, were also elected, Sara Marta Rostagno from Agape, Italy and Birgit Weinbrenner from the Evangelische Akademie Villigst. Metropolitan Ioannes Sakellariou from Greece was elected as new memeber of the Nominations Comittee and he will share this responsibility with Aleksei Bodrov, from St Andrews Theological Institute, Russia.

A variety of perspectives during the study day
Learning more about the culture and society are for many one the most appreciated parts of the Annual Conferences of Oikosnet Europe. The theme this year was Europe with different eyes – The case of Greece for example, a theme that was exemplified by lectures and presentations with different aspects on the situation in Crete and Greece. Dr Kostas Filis, Director of Research at the Institute of International Relations of Panteion University ( Athens), gave a presentation on the topic “Challenges and opportunities for the EU and the role of Greece”, followed up by a presentation by Dr Kostas Melas, Professor of Economics at Panteion University in Athens, on the concept of “creative destruction”.

A concrete example on how deep crisis could be transformed in to opportunity was presented by Despoina Mathioudaki and Tini Damianaki, two entrepreneurs who succesfully had managed to rediscover old recepies of the traditional Crete cuisine and turn them into good business. Another project that came out of the economical crisis, was presented by Thanos Paraschos, Vasillios Kottas, Sarantis Kyritsis and Heinz Kabutz, students of science at University of Crete, As a learning process in high technology they are trying to send the first Crete astronaut to space. (Not a real one, one might have to add…)
Last but not least, Heinz Kabutz, PhD in computer science, shared his story about starting up a conference business on an island like Crete in the time of crisis. His idea of having conferences without agenda was something that appealed to some of the auditors. So who knows, maybe it will tried out and explored in some upcoming event of Oikosnet Europe.

27 participants, representing 16 member organisations, took part of the conference this year, a most enjoyable stay thanks to the beautiful location and the generous hospitality of director Konstantinor Zormpas and Katerina Karkala Zormpa, head of the Conference Organisations of the OAC. We look forward to meet upp again at the Annual Conference 2019 that will be hosted by the Academy of Agape. More information will be sent out in the newsletters to come.

Minutes from the Business Meeting