On 29 of September 2017, Mrs. Antonia Antonopoulos, UNICEF Head of Civil Society Partnerships, who is a Canadian Greek Orthodox from the Holy Metropolis of Toronto, and Mrs. Frédérique Seidel, responsible for the World Council of Churches (WCC) program on Churches’ Commitments to Children visited the Permanent Representation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the WCC to present the collaboration between the UNICEF and the WCC on the Churches’s Commitments to Children.
Both were sensitive to the appeal made by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his Christmas encyclical last December “to respect the identity and sacredness of childhood” and who pointed out at the plague of child mortality, hunger and child labor, child abuse and psychological violence, as well as the dangers of altering children’s souls through their uncontrolled exposure to the influence of contemporary electronic means of communication. On that occasion, the Ecumenical Patriarchate had declare 2017 as the Year of Protection of the Sacredness of Childhood, inviting everyone to recognize and respect the rights and integrity of children.
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is expected to be the main speaker at an event co-organised in Geneva by the UNICEF and WCC on Universal Children’s Day, on 20 November 2018.
The WCC program on Churches’ Commitments to Children is aimed at promoting child protection through church communities, promoting meaningful child participation within Churches’ communities and raising Churches’ voice for intergenerational justice, supporting initiatives for and with children and adolescents, especially in the field of protection of the environment.