On Sunday, 28 November 2021, the Deputy Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nikolaos Chardalias, met with his Divine Beatitude, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodore II at the Patriarchate in Alexandria, within the framework of his official visit to Egypt.
During the meeting, Mr. Chardalias was briefed by his Beatitude on the significant social, humanitarian, spiritual, cultural, and educational work of the Patriarchate. The Deputy Minister of National Defence praised the multifaceted contribution of the far-famed Patriarchate of Alexandria, not only in Egypt, but also across the African continent. His Divine Beatitude awarded to the Deputy Minister of National Defence the Holy Cross of the Apostle and Evangelist Mark, stating: “As an expression of my gratitude to the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and considering your own agony and efforts and the sleepless days and nights you spent with the Army and the Fire Service, please accept this gift, this award”.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Chardalias stated that he dedicates it to the personnel of the Security Forces, the Armed Forces, and Civil Protection who, under the guidance of the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, struggled to deal with the difficult conditions faced by our country due to the invisible enemy that is the pandemic and the successive calamities that occurred within a short time period.
At the same time, the Deputy Minister of National Defence assured his Beatitude that his visit to Alexandria is an expression of respect and endless support and reflects the feelings of true love shared by the Prime Minister, the Hellenic State, and the Greek people for the Patriarchate of Alexandria and its congregation, as well as for the historic Greek Community of Alexandria, which is an integral part of Egyptian society.
He also stated that the Hellenic State remains a steadfast patron and supporter of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in the missionary, social, humanitarian, and educational work it performs under very difficult conditions. He also wished that the Church of Alexandria remains a Lighthouse of Hellenism and Orthodoxy as a bridge between civilisations, reiterating the Hellenic State’s readiness to assist it swiftly and effectively.
The Deputy Minister of National Defence offered to the Patriarch of Alexandria a gift of the Ministry of National Defence containing earth from Salamis, the Thermopylae, and Marathon where the Greeks fought decisive and victorious battles, stressing that “Nothing was offered to us. We had to fight for everything, we and Egypt, in order to live peacefully and be able, through our defence diplomacy, without assertions, fully devoted to our sovereign rights, to fight and be ready to fight, showing no appeasement or complacency”.
During his visit, the Deputy Minister of National Defence was given a tour of the Patriarchal Archaeological Museum, which exhibits mainly treasures of the Pharaohs and rare Hellenistic and Roman finds, as well as the important medieval library housed in the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
The Deputy Minister of National Defence also visited the Library of Alexandria, as well as the IDEA Exhibition (Ancient Greek Science and Technology), which was recently opened at the Library.
Finally, the Deputy Minister of National Defence met and discussed with members of the Greek Community of Alexandria.
During his visit, the Deputy Minister of National Defence was accompanied by the Greek Ambassador to Cairo, Mr. Nikolaos Garilidis.