Charalambos K Papastathis

Emeritus Professor of Ecclesiastical Law,
Department of Law,
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Charalambos Papastathis (1940-2012) was a Professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and was admitted as a member of the European Consortium for Church and State Research in 1990. He became its President in 1993 was an emeritus member since 2011. He organised the annual meeting in 1993 which addressed the legal status of religious minorities in Europe and was held in Thessaloniki. The Consortium dedicated the publication of the proceedings of its 2011 meeting (Oxford/United Kingdom) on religion and discrimination law in the European Union to Charalambos Papastathis. An appreciation of Professor Papastathis written by Mark Hill QC can be found below.

An Appreciation 


It was with great sadness that members of the European Consortium for Church and State Research received the news of the passing of Professor Charalambos Papastathis. One of the earliest members of the Consortium, assimilated during the course of the first gathering of the emergent Consortium in Milan and Parma in 1989, Professor Papastathis exuded the stature of elder statesman, but with a humility and lightness of touch which won him the affection of fellow members.


His personal contribution to the Consortium was considerable. He served as President in 1993, and was a Member of the Editorial Committee of its Law and Religion Studies series. He hosted the Consortium's annual meeting in Thesssloniki in 1993 under the title The Legal Status of Religious Minorities in the Countries of the European Union, which included a fascinating tour of Mount Athos. Invariably author of the definitive national report for Greece insuccessive Proceedings of the Consortium, Professor Papastathis' scholarship was meticulous: always thorough, balanced and authoritative. 


Charalambos K Papastathis was born in 1940 in Thessaloniki, where he remained all his life, becoming Professor of Ecclesiastical Law at Aristotle University, and where he delighted in welcoming fellow enthusiasts for the study of law and religion. He started his academic career as Research-Assistant at the Centre for Byzantine Studies in 1966. He held a Master's Degree in Public Law, a Doctor of Philosophy (1978) and Habilitation (1982) in Ecclesiastical Law and Legal History. He conducted research as a graduate student and post-doctoral fellow in Rome, Prague, Sofia and Washington DC. He was also a practising lawyer at the Bar of Thessaloniki for more than twenty years.


Professor Papastathis served on various editorial committees of scholarly reviews and journals. He authored nine books and more than one hundred and fifty papers in Greek and foreign journals, as well as in edited collections. In the field of ecclesiastical law, his main areas of research were church-state relations, religious freedom and the status of Mount Athos on which he was a renowned expert. He also authored books and papers on Byzantine-Slavic institutional relations and the legal history of the Balkans; on the Greek manuscripts preserved at the Ivan Dujcev Centre for Slavo-Byzantine Studies at the University of Sofia; and on modern and contemporary history of Thessaloniki and Macedonia.


Although he was firmly rooted in Thessaloniki, the academic reputation of Professor Papastathis was decidedly international. He was a visiting professor in various Greek and foreign universities. He was accorded the distinction of Archon Nomophylax of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and that of Great Logothetes of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. He was appointed Secretary General on Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Education and Cults (1986-87) and nominated as an Expert of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on matters of religious freedom in countries of Eastern Europe and Asia. He was awarded a PhD honoris causa by the Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia, appointed President of the National Archives of Greece and a member of the Governing Board of various scientific and cultural institutions. After his retirement in 2007, he was elected President of the Governing Board of the Institute for Balkan Studies in Thessaloniki.


Towards the end of his life, the Proceedings of the Consortium's 2011 Oxford Congress were dedicated to Professor Papastathis upon his becoming an emeritus member; sadly his intervening death meant that the reprint some months later could only bededicated to his memory.  A big man in every way,  Babis (as he was affectionately known by many) was able top fill a room with his presence, his personality, his laughter and his generosity. He was much loved by all who had the privilege of knowing him and he will be sadly missed, but will live on through the lasting scholarship of his published works. On behalf the entire Consortium, I extend condolences to his family, and to the many friends and colleagues whose lives he touched.



Professor Mark Hill QC

President, European Consortium for Church and State Research