A commemorative event marking the tenth anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Damaskinos Papandreou, first Orthodox Metropolitan of Switzerland (1982‒2003), was held on 5 November at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Metropolitan Damaskinos is remembered as a bridge builder between East and West, and the founder of the Institute for Higher Studies in Orthodox Theology in Chambésy.
For the occasion, a brief greeting was sent by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, with whom Metropolitan Damaskinos had developed a friendship since his studies in Bonn in the early 1960s.
In his greeting in a video presentation during the Conference, Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the PCPCU, called to mind many personal recollections of their time together at the same faculty in Fribourg, as well as during the period in which Cardinal Koch was Bishop of Basle and responsible for ecumenical relations in Switzerland. In particular, Cardinal Koch spoke of the dedicated commitment of Metropolitan Damaskinos to the Catholic‒Orthodox theological dialogue, and his role as a builder of ecumenical bridges. Cardinal Koch concluded his reflections by saying that the East and West can only rediscover themselves in the original bond of a common past, and that a deepened understanding of their shared heritage notwithstanding unique traits should be pursued in the theological dialogue in the spirit of mutual solidarity.