The graduation ceremony of the first series of the Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Programme “RELIGIOUS AND PILGRIM TOURISM” took place in an atmosphere of joy and emotion on Saturday 29 April 2023, at noon, at the C auditorium of the Faculty of Theology (2nd floor). The MSc was founded in the academic year 2020-21 by the Department of Social Theology and Christian Culture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, as the supervising Department, and the Department of Organizational Management, Marketing and Tourism of the International University of Greece, as the collaborating Department. The Programme immediately stood out, as it is distinguished for its innovative curriculum, which provides specialized theological knowledge, relevant to the interests of the pilgrim tourist, combined with top-level tourism training for the alternative type of religious tourism.
Honoring the effort and success of its first graduates, the MSc “RELIGIOUS AND PILGRIM TOURISM” organized an honorary event, in the form of a graduation ceremony, with the graduates and a large audience of relatives and friends as protagonists. The master of ceremonies was the Head of the Secretariat of the Department of Social Theology and Christian Culture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Mrs. Maria Paraskeva.
The Vice Rector of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Professor Dimitrios Kovaeus, gave a heartfelt greeting and expressed his joy for the progress of the Programme, which, as he said, is of great importance, because it is one of the few programs of cooperation between the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and other universities. The Dean of the Faculty of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Professor Chrysostomos Stamoulis, sent his greeting with a poetic text about the eternal pilgrim man and the modern pilgrim, who feeds our culture. The Dean of the School of Economics and Administration of the IHU and an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation, Professor Evangelos Christou, also sent his congratulations.
The President of the supervising Department of Social Theology and Christian Culture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Professor Apostolos Kralidis, pointed out the contribution of the MSc “RELIGIOUS AND PROSPIRATIONAL TOURISM” to the academic profile of the Department, mainly due to its interdisciplinary mode of operation, and praised the high level of the Programme, both in terms of its teaching staff and the theses produced. Lastly, the President of the collaborating Department of Organizational Management, Marketing, and Tourism, Professor Theodoros Kargidis, also sent his congratulations.
Closing the speeches, the Director of the Programme, Professor of the Department of Social Theology and Christian Culture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Mrs. Kyriakoula Papadimitriou, stressed: “Our dear graduates, be proud that you have succeeded and finished your studies not in a process-oriented way but by immersing yourselves in a subject that offered a wealth of knowledge and experience. Two disciplines, Theology and Tourism, opened their doors and welcomed you in a common living room, we could say, in a place where the religious monument meets the tourist interest, acquiring respectful content and functioning as a pilgrimage of substance and experience. You have been equipped in a unique way, interdisciplinary and interdisciplinary, with the theological training and with, the tourist skill of optimal management of pilgrimage tourism, so that you too can successfully serve this subject and, the subject can benefit from your science and your research.”
Finally, the valedictory speech was delivered by the first among the graduates of the first series of the Programme, Ms. Cleopatra Ilonidou, a graduate and diploma holder of the Department of History and Archaeology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, who said that she chose to do this Master’s degree, even though she already had a Master’s degree in Byzantine History and even though she is a graduate of the School of Guides because she was attracted by the subject of the Programme, which teaches the theological content of religious and pilgrimage tourism, and at the same time the methodological tools for its utilization, and on the other hand because she considered the organizing and operating bodies of the program to be remarkable and reliable. She said that she felt fully justified in her choice and that the program had fully met her expectations.
This was followed by the presentation of congratulatory souvenirs to the graduates by the Vice Rector and members of the Programme’s Studies Committee. The event was simultaneously broadcast online via the youtube channel of the Department of Social Theology and Christian Culture of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, available at the following link (starting at 55:00):
The new announcement of the MSc “RELIGIOUS AND PILGRIM TOURISM” for the academic year 2023-24 is expected, to be posted in September 2023 and, interested parties will have the opportunity, to apply for more than one month.