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Greek Metropolitan of Toronto Sotirios: “We Don’t Ask for Help from Greece”

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper along with Dimitris Sioutas a spokesman of the Canadian government, and also a Minister of Greek-Cypriot origin with a Deputy, attended a meeting in Kalavrita and Santa Laura.  The meeting was held to discuss issues with the Greek Metropolitan of Toronto, Sotirios, who was a classmate of the Bishop of Kalavrita and Egialia Mr. Ambrosios, at the Theological Faculty of the University of Athens (1956- 1960).

With this decision, the Prime Minister of Canada wanted to honor the country’s Orthodox community in honor of Mr. Sotirios. Waiting for the arrival of  the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, who was accompanied by George Papandreou, we spoke briefly with Mr. Sotirios.

“The last time I visited St. Laura,” he said, “was in 1976, and then I was a Bishop. I remember very little from that visit. Now, I am happy here. I see you smiling and I’m very happy about it. Despite the economic difficulties that Greece goes through, I do not see depression in your faces, I see beautiful people and I feel very pleasant. ”

Speaking of Canada, where he is a deacon, he observed that, “It is a famous place, sixty-eight times larger than Greece with a population of 33,000,000, of which the Orthodox are 1000.0000 and the Greek Orthodox are 350,000. We are well organized, we have 78 communities (parishes), 11 nursing homes, schools, and I have to say that we are going very well and our community is thriving. Always, however, there are some problems like “with mixed marriages, and also with the schools for the children, because Greek is not taught in our schools, and we should take measures in order for our children to learn our language.”

As far as that is concerned the Greek state doesn’t help you? we asked him. “The Greek State”, he replied, “is trying to help us, but this time we do not accept any help. The Metropolitan Council where I am chairman and more than 50 persons are involved have met recently and decided, after my suggestion, that we will not seek nor would accept any financial aid from the Greek state. Canada is much richer as a state compared to Greece.”

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