My wife and I could not be more delighted to be back in Greece, which has long held the most special place in my heart. After all, Greece is the land of my grandfather; and of my father’s birth, nearly one hundred years ago, in the centenary year of Greek Independence.
It has been a great pleasure, if I may say so, to meet those of you in different teams here, but also to have a chance just to hear from you your experiences and how you’ve been able to cope over the last year with this appalling pandemic, which has blighted the lives of so many people in this country.
If ever we needed an example of how to be a good Samaritan we need look no further, if I may say so. You are all playing a really signal role in the great effort that places of worship all over the country have been making at this time in supporting social action projects.
You are an amazing team, if I may say so, we are very lucky indeed to have you and I hope you continue to have increasing success in battling against this abominable virus, but you are winning by the sound of it and that is the great thing.
These are truly daunting circumstances. However, a charity set up to tackle cancer is not easily daunted and, as we have seen throughout this last year, right across our country the formidable will and compassion of the British people have outshone every darkness.
Today, I am making an urgent appeal to leaders, from all sectors and from around the world, to join us in this endeavour, and to give their support to this ‘Terra Carta’ – to bring prosperity into harmony with Nature, People and Planet over the coming decade.
As we gather here, we are profoundly aware of all those who have gone before us, who have bequeathed us the magnificent legacy of this glorious building, and who have maintained the spiritual community which has kept the flame of faith alive here for so many centuries.
While Covid deprived us of so many cultural pleasures – live music, theatre, cinema, art galleries, even being together in the flesh this evening – we have, at least, been able to read. And as long as we can read, we can travel, we can escape, we can explore, we can laugh, we can cry and we can grapple with life’s mysteries.
As our countries begin this new chapter in our long history, let us reaffirm our bond for the years ahead. Let us reflect on all that we have been through together, and all that we have learned. Let us remember all victims of war, tyranny and persecution; those who laid down their lives for the freedoms we cherish, and those who struggle for these freedoms to this day. They inspire us to strive for a better tomorrow – let us make this our common cause.