His Eminence Elder Archbishop Demetrios (Trakatellis), formerly of America, was awarded the title of Honorary Professor on Friday, 26 May 2023, at 19:00, at the Great Hall of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Present at the ceremony as caretaker Minister of Education and Religious Affairs was Mr Christos Kittas, former Rector of NKUA and Honorary Professor of its Department of Medicine.
The Rector of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Professor Meletios-Athanasios C Dimopoulos, addressed the ceremony, and the Associate Professor at the Department of Social Theology and the Study of Religion—and Reverend Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne—, Fr Athanasios Melissaris, presented the work and personality of the honouree.
In his address, the Rector of NKUA said, among other things, the following:
‘It is with great honour and joy, given the stature and significant work of our special guest—and always in keeping with a long-standing tradition of our Institution to celebrate those who have contributed the most to academia—, that we confer today the highest honour of our University, the title of Honorary Professor, to His Eminence Elder Archbishop Demetrios (Trakatellis), formerly of America.
The Senate of NKUA decided unanimously to award the title of Honorary Professor to His Eminence Elder Archbishop Demetrios, formerly of America, Professor at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and Harvard Divinity School, and Corresponding Member of the Academy of Athens, in recognition of his outstanding scholarly, spiritual, and theological personality, his significant research and teaching work, and his overall contribution to the Church and all humankind.
His Eminence Elder Archbishop Demetrios of America, Most Honourable Exarch of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, was born in Thessalonica. In 1950 he graduated with distinction from our University’s School of Theology. He was ordained a Deacon in 1960 and a Priest in 1964. In 1967 he was elected Bishop of Vresthena, an auxiliary Bishop to the Archbishop of Athens, with the duty to oversee issues related to the Holy Clergy and their education.
During his lengthy stay in the US, he served as the Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and a Visiting Professor of New Testament at the Harvard University School of Divinity.
His Eminence is the author of numerous scholarly and theological books and articles.
He has always distinguished himself for his Christian ethos, integrity of character, intellectual gifts, profound theological knowledge, and faith and devotion to the Church.
He has long been considered one of the most prominent contemporary ecclesiastical and theological figures in the Orthodox Church, and enjoys appreciation and acceptance around the world, even beyond the boundaries of Christianity.
Your Eminence, Elder Archbishop Demetrios, formerly of America,
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens welcomes you today with the utmost honour and joy, commending you on your contribution to the Church and all humankind!’
The Chair of the Department of Social Theology and the Study of Religion, His Eminence Kyrillos (Katerelos), Metropolitan Bishop of Krini and Exarch (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) of Malta, read the Resolution.
Next, the Dean of the NKUA’s School of Theology, Associate Professor Christos Karagiannis gave the honoree the Resolution on a parchment roll. His Eminence Demetrios also received an honorary plaque by the Rector of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Professor Meletios-Athanasios C Dimopoulos.
The ceremony concluded with a speech by the honoree, His Eminence Elder Archbishop Demetrios (Trakatellis), formerly of America, entitled ‘The Creative Power of “the Ministry of the Word” (Acts 6:4)’.