SYNDESMOS is the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth. It was founded as a federation of Orthodox youth movements and theological schools around the world. The organization worked under the blessing of all the local canonical Churches to serve the Church by promoting unity, witness, and renewal. Syndesmos, in Greek, means bond of unity and takes its name from Saint Paul's letter to the Ephisians 4:3.
SYNDESMOS was founded in 1953 to encourage contacts among Orthodox youth throughout the world. At its peak in the 1990's the fellowship was made up of 121 Member Movements. These are various Orthodox youth organizations and movements and theological schools from more than forty different countries. The member movements, each blessed by their local bishop, were organised into three categories: Affiliated, Federated, or Associated. From 1992, youth movements of the Oriental Orthodox had been able to join the fellowship as federated members, with their own vice-president.
From its founding in 1953 the fellowship convened 18 General Assemblies with the first being in April 1953 in Sevres, France, and the last being in Pireaus, Greece in February 2009. The fellowship attempted to organise an assembly in August 2014 in Nemat, Romania. With fewer than ten members of the fellowship present, and failing to elect a president and board, as per its constitution, the gathering was just that, a gathering of Orthodox youth movements and is not considered to have been a general assembly. At this gathering two "co-moderators" were installed in place of a president, and four individuals were installed as "members-at-large" of the board. This "board" attempted to administer the fellowship since then but having been installed at a gathering that did not meet the requirments of a general assembly, and themselves failing to issue a report of the 2014 meeting, conduct timely financial audits and convene a general assembly Syndesmos presently exisits in name only. Presently Syndesmos neither has a board of administraiton, nor is it registered as a legal entity.
Organization 1953 - 2014
The highest organization of SYNDESMOS during the 1953-2014 period was the General Assembly. The assembly consisted of representatives of all the Member Movements within SYNDESMOS. The assembly met at least every four years. The first assembly was held in 1953 in Sevres, France and the last assembly of this period was held in Pireaus, Greece in Feburay, 2009.
The governing body of the fellowshihp between assemblies was the Board of Administration whose purpose was to serve and promoate the aim and objectives of the organisation. The board was composed of a president, five vice-presidents and one representative of each of the nine regions with one representative for federated members. Board members were elected by the General Assembly and served as volunteers.
Day-to-day operations were administered by an Executive Committee which served as the executive organ of the fellowship. The executive committee consisted of the president, and vice presidents with the Secretary-General being present at all meetings ex-officio. The Executive Committee together with the Secretary General planned and implemented the decisions of the General Assembly.
Financial resources for SYNDESMOS were received through annual membership fees and donations from Orthodox churches individuals, and grants from Ecumeincial associations and other Non-Governmental Organisations.
SYNDESMOS coordinates activities of the member movements on an international scale through a Calendar of Events. Additionally, multi- and bi-lateral activities and events are organized by member movements themselves, although these may not involve the SYNDESMOS Secretariat.
Information of activities and events both upcoming as well as past is available on-line through the fellowship’s site.