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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.