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The 4th STRAPAC International Course took place in Craiova from 22th to 28th of September 2019. It involved around 20 participants, representing different target groups  - professors and teachers in religion, priests, deacons, representatives of local church administration, church workers etc. The course was divided in two parts – theoretical and practical. The theoretical part included presentations and lectures delivered by well-known theologians at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Craiova. The participants got acquainted with the contribution of the Romanian Orthodox Church in the domain of the social assistance and with the work of different parishes and church organizations with vulnerable groups of people. They also had the opportunity to exchange examples and good practices for diakonical work of their local churches. During the practical part of the training seminar the representatives of the 5th partners in the project visited Vasiliada Association, which has been working since 2001 and carries out a wide social activity at community level, running several social programmes. Currently, Vasiliada manages 8 social establishments oriented towards people in need from Dolj and Gorj counties. On of these is the Children’s Centre “Wings of Light”, which offers educational activities to prevent school dropout.  The participants to the course also visited the emergency social center for homeless people "Saint Vasile" in Craiova, also run by Vasiliada. It hosts homeless people and serving 3 meals a day, care services, counseling for social integration, support for finding a job, a home, accessing to qualification and training courses, accompanying in obtaining documents, information services on social rights.
One month for preparation and organization of the event will be required, which includes preparation of lectures, travel arrangements, programme, preparation of training materials, contacts with local places that will be visited and meetings arrangements, CDs, DVDs, folders etc. Travel/health insurances will be issued for each participant. The course aims to achieve the following outcomes: 1) increased knowledge and sense of initiative, entrepreneurship and leadership; 2) greater understanding and responsiveness to social, linguistic and cultural diversity;  3) increased motivation and satisfaction in their everyday work; 4) more active participation in the society; 6) Increased awareness and open access to learning for the people in need involved in the activity.
More information about the course can be found on the official Facebook page of STRAPAC project.


The third international training course under STRAPAC project was organized by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Greek partner of the project,  together  with the Social Research Centre for Religion & Culture Εργαστήριο Κοινωνικής Έρευνας Α.Π.Θ.. The theoretical part of the course took place in Thessaloniki and several field visits where held in the city and in the surrounding area. The course lasted 5 workings days (from 2nd to 8th of June 2019) and was open to 20 representatives of religious communities from different countries. The group that attended the event included representatives of different religious organizations and structures belonging to the Church from the 5 partners’ countries involved in the project. The participants were provided with an extraordinary opportunity to learn about the social/volunteer work of religions organizations and structures at the Greek Orthodox Church, and thus to absorb good practices and experience for diakonical work. During the first day the event was welcome by the president of the Faculty of Theology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki prof. Skaltis and then the floor was given to the participants to present themselves and their sending organizations. At the end of the working sessions, the participants discussed in small groups their national experiences and the European perspectives of faith-based support organizations.  On the next day of the seminar lectures on tackling social exclusion of vulnerable youth (principles and challenges of Diakonia and faith-based social support) and on the diakonia of the Church of Greece were delivered by As. Prof. C.N. Tsironis and fr. Antonios Kalligeris. On the following day the participants visited Panagia Laodigitria – a parish centre of the Greek Orthodox Church, providing spiritual and social support to young people in need. The afternoon session included lectures, delivered by fr. Basileios Kalliakmanis (prof.) and fr. Ioustinos Kefalouros on spiritual and social support to troubled youth, living both in urban and rural areas. A guided visit to Thessaloniki Synagogue was organized on the following day. In the afternoon, the participants visited the parish centre “Faros tou Kosmou”, which offers educational services to Roma children (such as foreign language session, nutrition, study support, Robotics, sport, theater, painting, dance, handicraft, swimming, football etc.).  An informal debate on the role of the faith-based organizations in social support to youth took place at the end of visit, followed by lectures, delivered by prof. Papageorgiou and Dr. M. Sidiropoulou, entitled “Church based social support, Gender and Economic Crisis: The case of Thessaloniki), and “Children of Crisis, families in precarity: the Church-based social support”, delivered by the PhD candidate Chryssa Albani. The session was followed by study visit to the Municipality of Neapolis – Sykeon, where the participants learned about the welfare structures, European projects and entrepreneurship initiatives of the municipality.  During the last day of the seminar the participants were welcome by His Eminence Athenagoras, Metropolitan of Ilion, Acharnes and Petroupolis - Head of the special commission of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece for Pastoral Issues.  The working session was followed by a discussion on the role of the Religious institutions in tackling the social exclusion of young people in Europe.
More about the seminar can be found on the official Facebook page of STRAPAC project.


The second international training course, which was organized by Regional Development Foundation (Bulgaria) as one of the initiatives of STRAPAC project, took place in Sofia from 18th to 24th of November. More than 28 people, representing the core target groups, participated in the course. The direct beneficiaries of the course were members of religious communities from Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran communities.  During the course, they had the chance to  meet, talk and exchange experience with representatives of the Muslim and the Jewish communities in Bulgaria.

The theoretical part of the course took place in House of Europe on 19th and 21st of November, while the closing session was held in the Faculty of Theology (Sofia University) on 23th of November. During the first working day, the participants got acquainted with the project and its objectives, but also with the EU institutions represented in Bulgaria, as well as with the funding opportunities of the EU in the field of education, training, social assistance and EU citizenship.  During this day, the participants introduce themselves and the institutions/organizations they represent. In addition to this, the social work of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and its present and past, was presented to the participants. In the late afternoon, the participants enjoyed welcoming coffee offered by His Eminence Polycarpus, Bishop of Belogradchik and Vicar of His Holiness Neophyte, Metropolitan of Sofia and Patriarch of All Bulgaria.
On 20th of November the participants visited the Orthodox Information Centre in Blagoevgrad. Representative of the Centre presented the methods used at a level of a parish to help vulnarable groups of people. In the afternoon, the guests visited Rila Monastery where they enjoyed lunch, offered by the abbot of the Monastery. They get to know better what the activities of the Monastery are, its history and present state.
The third day of the seminar included visits to the Sofia synagogue and the Information Centre of the Grant Mufti of Bulgaria as well as lectures and presentations of good practices related to social work. Various practices to help people in need were presented to the participants. They also had the chance to understand how both the Jewish and Muslim communities organize their work to tackle social exclusion. On the 22nd of November, the guests visited Arapovo Monastery. The abbot presented to the participants the agricultural activities and the local wine&food production of the Monastery and how the Monastery helps vulnerable groups of people by providing jobs in the field of agriculture. In the evening of 22th of November, there was a dinner, warmly offered by the abbot of Bachkovo Monastery.
A round table discussion took place on 23th of November. The participants were asked to show/present best practices of their own religious communities to tackle social exclusion.  In the afternoon, the participants visited the Parish centre of "Nativity of Christ" Church in Mladost district where they were welcome by the Mayor of the district Mr. Rumen Rusev.
The second blended mobility gave an extraordinary opportunity to the target groups representatives to learn from the speakers and from each other about the social/volunteer work at the level of a parish and to absorb good practices and experience that could be later transferred to their local context.



More information about the course can be found here


Download the programme of the seminar 



The second international training course, as one of the initiatives of STRAPAC project, will take place in Sofia from 18th to 24th of November in Sofia. The seminar will be organized by Regional Development Foundation, the Bulgarian partner of STRAPAC project. The residential course will last 7 days (including travel days) and will be opened to 20 representatives of religious communities from different countries. The participants should come from poor or rural areas of their country of residence. They could be religious leaders, priests, deacons, monks, religious teachers, representatives of local churches/religious administration, or representatives of other religious communities or minorities; 3) their work should be related to activities promoting education and social inclusion (Sunday schools, work with people with fewer opportunities etc). The course will have both theoretical and practical part. The theoretical part embraces lectures and presentations. The participants will be also asked to share their own experience about how they face challanges such as social exlcusion, poverety, economic incertainty etc. The practical part includes field visits to poor or rural parishes, local religious communities, parish centers, social enterprises, which are run by local dioceses, parishes or faith communities, dealing with people with fewer opportunities, but also with minorities' groups. The theoretical part of the training will last for 3 days, while the practical part will last 2 days. During the course the participant will be also informed about opportunities offered by the EU programmes and funds. The group, attending the event, will be given an extraordinary opportunity to learn from the speakers and from each other about the social/volunteer work at the level of a parish and to absorb good practices and experience that could be transferred to their local context. 

The first international course, which was planned as one of the training initiatives of Strategic partnership for representatives of religious communities’ project (STRAPAC project), funded by Erasmus + programme in October last year, took place from 8th to 14th of October 2018 in Italy (Bedonia, Parma and Piacenza). The course was attended by more than 20 priests, nuns, monks, professionals in theology and other representatives of religious communities from Italy, Norway, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece. The participants in the course received an extraordinary opportunity to learn about the social and volunteer work at a parish level in the regions of Bedonia, Parma and Piacenza, and to absorb good practices and experience in this field. They also had a chance to learn both how to organize fundraising campaigns and how to search funds for projects tackling social exclusion, but also to interact with people of different cultural, religious and professional background and to share good practices and own experience to help people with fewer opportunities at local level.

On  October 9th, Rev. Lino Ferrari, Rector of the Seminary of Bedonia (Seminario Vescovile di Bedonia) and Enrico Bricca, deputy Chairman of #GALdelDucato, welcomed all the participants along with Ms. Carla Cavallini, the local coordinator of the project on behalf of the Italian partner, who introduced the programme of the seminar for the forthcoming days. Gelu Calina, from the Centre for dialogue between sciences and theology of the University of Craiova (Universitatea Craiova), Romania (the lead partner of the project), introduced the purposes and the activities of STRAPAC project. While the first day of course was coming to its end, the STRAPAC staff continued to work on the financial issues and on the organisation of the 2nd #STRAPAC international course foreseen in #Bulgaria from 18th to 24th of November this year.

On the next day, the participants were brought to Caritas Diocesana di Piacenza-Bobbio where they had to learn how to deal with poverty and people in need. Welcomed and guided by Giuseppe Chiodaroli and Massimo Magnaschi, the participants to the 1st Erasmus+ STRAPAC international training course got acquainted with the main services of  #Caritas of the Diocesi di Piacenza-Bobbio. They took lunch later at the soup kitchen, run by the organization. After the lunch, the learners visited Associazione La Ricerca Onlus. The group was led  around by Mara Verderi at the "Centro Don Zermani", now home for many refugees and asylum seekers. The day concluded with a guided visit to the Piacenza Cathedral and to the famous Guercino frescoes, which was offered by the Diocesi di Piacenza-Bobbio.

On October 11th, Carlo Berni, the Mayor of Bedonia, welcomed the participants. The programme for the day included a presentation on the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund 2014-2020, which was delivered by Nubia Tagliaferro.  The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), which supports EU countries' actions to provide material assistance to the most deprived, was presented to the participants by Carla Cavallini. The programme continued with Prof. Davide Tacchini’s lecture on the Muslim views of Christianity and the West in the 21st century. Davide Tacchini is a research fellow and project coordinator at the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany and Visiting Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the Università degli Studi di Parma, Italy. His lecture was followed by a presentation of the social cooperatives according to the Italian model, which was delivered by Samuele Bertoncini from Confcooperative Piacenza at Seminario Vescovile di Bedonia.

The participants to the 1st Erasmus+ STRAPAC international course concluded their third day of activity with a guided tour to the Seminario Vescovile di Bedonia, the museums and the park led by Rev. Lino Ferrari, Rector of the Seminary of Bedonia.

On 12th of October the trainees visited the Forum Solidarietà - Centro di Servizi per il Volontariato in Parma led by Rosanna Pippa willing to learn more about what their mission, purposes, services are.

The training course was concluded with a visit to Parmigiano Reggiano dairy for a wine & cheese tasting on the 13th of October, followed by meeting with Father Jurie Ursachi, responsible for the Romanian Orthodox Community of Saint Daniel in Piacenza, who presented the parish and its activities in the fields of culture, social inclusion and ecumenical dialogue.

In the meantime, the documentary film, which is currently being developed under the project, was shot and few interviews were taken from parish priests in the social cooperative of Parrocchia di Sant’Antonio Abate a la Dozza in Bologna and in Caritas, Piacenza. 

More information about the course and its programme can be found at: