Archons honor
Ecumenical Patriarch at their Grand Banquet

Nearly 1,200 guests filled to capacity the New York Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom at this year’s grand banquet of the Order of Saint Andrew, honoring the achievements of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. His All Holiness, escorted by Archbishop Demetrios and National Commander Anthony Limberakis, was enthusiastically received as he entered the packed ballroom composed of visiting hierarchs and clergy from interfaith jurisdictions, Archons and guests.

Honored dignitaries included the Honorable Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City; His Excellency Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York; and newly-invested Archon Mike Emanuel, White House Correspondent for Fox News. Archon Ernie Anastos, Emmy Award anchor for New York City's Fox 5 News, served as master of ceremonies for the evening.

Anthony Limberakis introduced a video tribute on the accomplishments of His All Holiness. At the conclusion of the video, members of the National Council's Executive Committee through the hands of the Exarch, Archbishop Demetrios, presented Bartholomew with a hand cross which was created by Pamela James, beloved niece of Archon Bouras. The cross was crafted in silver and gold and replicated to the crosses Archons are bestowed at their investiture.

The Ecumenical Patriarch, in turn, expressed his thanks to the Archons. "You have always been at the forefront of the sacred campaign of awareness and support for the Mother Church in her struggle to stand up for the religious rights of minorities as well as for the human rights of all people throughout the world… We have been deeply moved and remain profoundly grateful for your consistent and persistent labors to raise the same sacred issues at the highest level before the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. For this and many other labors, we extend to you our abiding gratitude and fervent prayers."

Right before the program was concluded, surprising all in the ballroom, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, bestowed upon Anthony J. Limberakis the Order’s prestigious Athenagoras Human Rights Award, which is presented annually to a person or organization that has consistently exemplified by action, purpose and dedication, concern for the basic rights and religious freedom of all people.

The award honors Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras who served as Archbishop of the Americas for 18 years before being elected Ecumenical Patriarch in 1948. Previous recipients have included President Jimmy Carter, President George H.W. Bush, Former Soviet President Mikhael Gorbachev, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, Elie Wiesel, Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and last year's recipient, Rabbi Arthur Schneier.

While in New York, His All Holiness presided - assisted by Archbishop Demetrios - at the Investiture of twenty-seven new Archons from throughout the United States, following the Divine Liturgy at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.

Concelebrating hierarchs included His Eminence Geron Metropolitan Athanasios of Chalcedon; His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France; His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea and all the members of the Holy Eparchial Synod.


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