Join myOCN Interactive Virtual Community with Fr. Christopher Metropulos and special guests Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou and Christina Hioureas on Thursday, 7/29 at 7pm EST. This month marks the one-year anniversary of Turkey’s unilateral decision to reconvert the Hagia Sophia Cathedral – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – into a mosque. A jarring move that shook not only all of Christendom but also society at large given the importance of the site to the common heritage of humankind. What is the significance of this unilateral decision and what effect might it have on the freedom of conscience, belief, and religion? We will discuss what’s happening on the ground and the implications for the protection of cultural heritage. We will then examine current efforts, and what domestic, multilateral, and international recourse might exist to address the intersection of these critical issues.
Shaped by a life of service to Christ’s Church, Fr. Christopher has dedicated himself to using all the tools God has placed at his disposal to spread the light of Orthodoxy across the United States of America and around the world. Speaker, Radio Host, Professor, Founding Father of the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), Pastor, Leader of 12 Pilgrimages to the Holy Land and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Author, Father, Grandfather and Defender of the Faith. As founder, host, and executive director of the Orthodox Christian Network he shepherds a dynamic and rapidly expanding ministry bringing joy, hope, and salvation in Jesus Christ to close to 1 million people a month in more than 190 countries. A nationally known radio personality, Fr. Christopher co-hosted the groundbreaking, internationally televised Epiphany Celebration of Tarpon Springs, Florida in January 2006, presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and seen on the Hallmark Channel. He was also featured in a 2012 television broadcast on TLC entitled “4 Weddings.” In May 2014, he offered live English commentary from Rome via Radio Vaticana and EWTN for the worldwide televised broadcast of the historic meeting of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem. In November 2014, he returned to Rome to provide the English commentary on a second Radio Vaticana/EWTN worldwide televised broadcast, this time on the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul in celebration of the Feast Day of St Andrew. He worked alongside a team of professionals from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on these broadcasts. Currently serves as Vice President, International Association of Digital Media Orthodox Pastoral Care. Fr. Christopher holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Hellenic College of Brookline, Massachusetts, a Master of Divinity Studies Degree from Brookline’s Holy Cross School of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. His dedication to the family unit drove Fr. Christopher to be certified as a Family Mediator by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Florida. Fr. Christopher has also studied extensively at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. He has served the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for more than 40 years. He has held many different assignments as: Representative to the United Nations and United States Missions; Assistant Priest St. Demetrios Cathedral, Astoria, NY; Dean of the Assumption Cathedral in Denver, CO; Pastor of the Archangel Michael Church, Roslyn, NY; Pastor of the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Ft Lauderdale Florida, President of Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology, Dean of Admissions and Registrar of the Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology; member of the Archdiocesan Council; President of the Archdiocesan Presbyter’s Council for two consecutive terms; and council member of the Metropolis of Denver and the Metropolis of Atlanta. He also served as Vicar of the South Florida Conference from 1998-2011. In the summer of 2008, he was elevated by His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios to the rank of Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the blessings of the Holy and Sacred Synod, the highest honor bestowed on a married clergyman. Fr. Christopher and his late wife, Presbytera Georgia Mitsos, have six children and four grandchildren. With the blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco he was appointed as Interim Pastor of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in San Jose, Ca in October 2021.
Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou teaches in the Program on International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she is Faculty Director of the Initiative on Religion, Law, and Diplomacy. She is a Co-President of Religions for Peace, and is non resident Senior Fellow and Co-Chair of the Working Group on Christians and Religious Pluralism in the Middle East, at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. Prodromou served a diplomatic appointment as Vice Chair and Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (2004-2012), and was also a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Religion & Foreign Policy Working Group (2011-2015). Her research interests focus on geopolitics and religion, as well as democratization, religious freedom, and security, with particular focus on the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. Her current research projects involve cultural heritage and institutional religious freedom in Turkey, and Orthodox Christianity, religious diplomacy, and typologies of power. The author of multiple edited volumes and book chapters, her articles and review essays also have appeared in Journal of World Christianity, Journal of Democracy, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Orbis, Survival. Prodromou is a frequent commentator and contributor in US and international media platforms. A frequent advisor to multilateral organizations, governments and local activist and faith communities on religious inclusion and human security issues, and she has offered expert testimony and briefings to US and international bodies such as the US Helsinki Commission, the European Parliament, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, among others. She was part of the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople at the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church (Crete, 2016). She holds a Ph.D. and an S.M. in political science from MIT, an M.A.L.D. in international relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), and a B.A. in history and international relations from Tufts University. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Christina Hioureas is a Partner in International Litigation & Arbitration at Foley Hoag LLP and is Chair of the firm’s United Nations Practice Group, in which she represents States in public international law disputes and advises States on matters before the United Nations and its bodies. Hioureas also acts as counsel and arbitrator in international commercial arbitration (ICC, ICDR/AAA, Swiss Rules, LCIA, UNCITRAL), investment arbitration (UNCITRAL, ICSID), and mediated disputes (ICC Dispute Resolution Board). Hioureas is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law. She has been recognized byChambers Global – Public International Law, Chambers USA – Arbitrators, Global Arbitration Review, Legal 500, and Who’s Who International Arbitration.