Inter-parliamentary activities

Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO)

The Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) is an interparliamentary agency set up at the initiative of the Hellenic Parliament in 1993, where Russia plays a leading role on a par with Greece. The IAO is headquartered in Athens.

The IAO comprises parliamentary delegations from 25 countries.

The IAO’s main goals are to coordinate legislative activities of the member states, to encourage the adoption of laws in the interests of Orthodoxy in societies where it is a fundamental cultural and ethnic factor, as well as to promote communication between churches and the adoption of political measures to protect the Orthodox spiritual values.

Meetings of the General Assembly, which is the supreme body of the IAO, are held in June every year (Moscow hosted the IAO General Assembly meeting in 2014). The President of the General Assembly is elected at a plenary meeting. The IAO International Secretariat meets three times a year. It is comprised of the Secretary General, the Alternate Secretary General, the Treasurer and seven members, including two permanent members, one each from Greece and Russia. The International Secretariat includes two advisors who are not MPs. The International Secretariat is responsible for creating eight committees: the Financial Committee, the Committee on Regulation, the Committee on Human Rights, the Committee on Culture, the Committee on Education, the Committee on Social Activity, Family and Motherhood, the Committee on Mass Media and the Committee on International Policy. Each member country can send one delegate to each committee. The number of committees and their members can only be changed by decision of the General Assembly.

The term of office of members of the International Secretariat, the President of the General Assembly and committee members is two years.

Since its establishment, the IAO has become a powerful force that has clear principles and goals and represents the interests of the Orthodox community of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. The IAO is recognised internationally as a peacekeeping organisation that acted as intermediary in complicated inter-Christian conflicts in several countries.