NEW YORK – The Order of the Archons of St. Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will honor Protopresbyter Alexander and Presbytera Xanthi Karloutsos with the Athenagoras Human Rights Award on Saturday, October 27 at the New York Hilton Hotel.
More than 1,300 guests are expected to attend, more than any other Archon event in the past except the one in honor of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew some years ago. Metropolitan Emmanuel of France will represent His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
In an interview with The National Herald Fr. Karloutsos said, “God has blessed us to serve the Archdiocese and the Greek American Community all these years,” adding that “I am not worthy of this honor but my presbytera is.”
Fr. Karloutsos who is one of the most distinguished and well-known priests not only in the Archdiocese of America but throughout the world always speaks very highly of his Presbytera Xanthi who is his valuable coworker in everything and for everything.
Fr. Karloutsos was ordained in 1970 and serves the Holy Altar for 48 years. He said, “I feel it is an honor and a blessing whenever you serve. I don’t distinguish between the Archdiocese, the parish, and the Patriarchate, we are all one Body of Christ.”
Fr. Karloutsos has so many and such great achievements. He said, “All these things were my duty, diakonia, I don’t feel that I did something special; I don’t like to say what I do, it is not in my character.”
When we asked if Fr. Karloutsos is the priest of the Holy Altar, the man who does fundraisers, opens the doors of the White House, he answered that “if it wasn’t for the Holy Altar I wouldn’t be a priest. I never asked for any position; the only position I had requested was to be ordained.”
Fr. Karloutsos spoke with reverence and nostalgia about his parents. He lost his beloved mother when he was 9 years old and his priest father assumed the responsibility to raise all his six children by himself. Speaking about his mother he said, “I remember her love, her compassion, her hug, her embrace.”
He said, “My father was telling me very often to be proud that I am Greek, to love the Omogeneia of America, to respect my name, and be proud that I am the son of a priest.”
He added, “I had always that pain about my father, how he was going to survive and raise his children. He made it with nothing. When he went to Nebraska to serve, his salary was $300 a month and the congregants used to bring him tomatoes, vegetables, to feed his children.”
When asked about the Archdiocese of America, the largest and the most prominent Ecclesiastical Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne,which is in today’s dire condition financially, administratively, spiritually, and also about the Theological School in paralysis, Fr. Karloutsos said, “I think the biggest problem is the indifference that we have as priests and as lay people. It is the acedia [spiritual or mental sloth; apathy] as the Fathers of the Church say. We should be more spiritual, more sincere, to say the truth with love and so we can achieve miracles.”