Mission and Initiatives of St. Andrew’s Archons

NEW YORK – In an interview with TNH, Dr. Anthony Limberakis, longtime commander of the Order of Archons of St. Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, explains the Order’s mission and the initiatives for Partiarchate’s religious freedom and rights. Limberakis is fully committed to the Order’s work with much enthusiasm and piety. He is the son of th

NEW YORK – In an interview with TNH, Dr. Anthony Limberakis, longtime commander of the Order of Archons of St. Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, explains the Order’s mission and the initiatives for Partiarchate’s religious freedom and rights.
Limberakis is fully committed to the Order’s work with much enthusiasm and piety. He is the son of the late Fr. John Limberakis, one of the most prominent and successful clerics of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.{66818}

Limberakis said that “with the blessings of Archbishop Demetrios of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Metropolitans of the Eparchial Synod, the Order continues its domestic and international initiatives to secure religious freedom for the Holy and Great Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. Archbishop Demetrios has been extraordinary in his constant support, encouragement, and guidance of the Order of St. Andrew.”
He explained that “this process of seeking to secure religious freedom first begins by the actual protocol for the recommendation of new Archons to the Patriarchate, whereby the Selection Committee reviews the candidates stewardship of time, talent, and treasure to his local parish, his Metropolis, the Archdiocese and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. During the review process, the candidate must submit a personal statement in which he pledges that he will support the initiatives of the Order to the best of his ability first and foremost, to defend the Mother Church and securing religious freedom.”
Limberakis praised Patriarch Bartholomew’s ministry, saying that “the strength and vitality of the Order is due to the inspiration we receive by witnessing the Martyria and Diakonia of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his daily life, in what is a very challenging and at times dangerous environment in a country whose policies are aimed at asphyxiating the Spiritual Center of world Orthodoxy. Our respected, beloved, brilliant, and intrepid worldwide Spiritual Father is not letting that happen, and the Archons of America are here to assist in every possible way.”
He emphasized the Order’s teamwork: “the work of the order is made effective by the extraordinary Archon Stewardship of its officers [Secretary John Halecky, Jr., Treasurer James C. Fountas, Sgt. at Arms Alex Pritsos], National Council members, its Regional Commanders, and its membership, and at the top of the list is the National Vice Commander Nicholas J. Bouras, who I often refer to as the backbone of the Order. Archon Nicholas empowers us with his extraordinary stewardship to execute our multifaceted domestic and international initiatives to secure religious freedom.
“The Orders Spiritual Advisor, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, is an extraordinary Phanariote whose dynamism, worldwide contacts, intellect, and personal devotion to the Ecumenical Patriarchate is a not-so-secret weapon in the Archon arsenal to combat religious intolerance and egregious violations of religious freedom. He truly is a ‘triple threat,’ to use football parlance, as we seek religious freedom for the Mother Church.”
When asked to name some of the activities of the Archons for the awareness of the civilized world about the violations of Religious Freedom in Turkey, Limberakis said “the Archons have numerous initiatives both here in the United States and abroad to secure religious freedom. The work of the Religious Freedom Committee chaired by Archon John Catsimatidis has been very effective, including initiatives in Washington, each of the 50 states and overseas.
“The work of Archon Congressman Gus Bilirakis and the dynamic team of Archon Andy Manatos and Archon Mike Manatos is invaluable in the Orders Washington Initiative. Their efforts in Congress, the State Department, and the White House are effective in educating our national leaders regarding the religious freedom deficit in Turkey and having our leaders support the Archon initiatives. Archon Bill Antholis, managing director of the Brookings Institution, is another key figure in Washington, from whom we seek guidance in executing our Religious Freedom programs.”
Limberakis also talked about the state resolutions. He said “in each of the legislatures of the 50 states of America, the Archons have a Religious Freedom Resolution Initiative that has been extraordinarily successful. To date 42 states representing over 90% of the United States population have passed Religious Freedom Resolutions calling on Turkey to address its religious freedom deficit. That project is coordinated by Archon Stephen Georgeson of Atlanta, GA who is doing a fantastic job. In this way, the political and government leaders of each state of the United States are being informed regarding the religious intolerance of Turkey.
“The Orders Legal Committee headed by Archon Christopher Stratakis has done remarkable work in assessing various legal strategies to secure religious freedom. Archon lawyers throughout the United States including John Zavitsanos and George Rockas have contributed their legal expertise in a number of circumstances, including in the oral arguments before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg, France when the Court returned by unanimous decision the illegally confiscated Patriarchal Orphanage of Pringipos to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
“Archon Judge B. Theodore Bozonelis, who also is a Regional Commander is working closely with the patriarchal lawyers in Constantinople on various matters, including the return of hundreds of illegally confiscated properties.”
Limberakis also spoke about the upcoming International Conference organized by the Archons. He stated that “that is most exciting at this time is the upcoming Order of St. Andrews Second International Religious Freedom Conference scheduled for December 4 and 5 in Berlin, Germany, chaired by Archon George Rockas. As we did in November 2010 at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, the Order is organizing an extraordinary conference bringing together legal scholars, human rights activists, government leaders, religious minority members from Turkey, journalists, and religious leaders to discuss the ways and means to improve religious freedom in Turkey, not only for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, but for all religious minorities including Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Alevi Muslims, and Syriacs, among others. This conference is open to the public and the Archons welcome all faithful to participate and witness this milestone event. The Order is working closely with Metropolitan Augoustinos of Germany and Metropolitan Emmanuel who is the official representative of the Orthodox Church to the European Union.
“The First Among Equals Zine (or booklet), produced by the Department of Religious Education and underwritten by Archon Dr. Stephen Yallourakis and his beloved wife, Dr. Anna Yallourakis, was a tremendous educational accomplishment of the Order that was distributed to the entire readership of the Orthodox Observer last month. The booklet which was designed for catechism school use reviews the canonical, historical and ecclesiastical significance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
“The Annual Athenagoras Human Rights Award banquet focuses our attention on the religious freedom concerns of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This year, 60 Minutes, the extraordinary and most popular news program in the history of United States will receive the Athenagoras Human Rights Award on October 20 at the New York Hilton. CBS president Jeff Fager, 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon, and 60 minutes producer Harry Radliffe will all be there, as they were the principals involved in the extraordinary 60 minutes interview of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when he stated that at times he feels ‘crucified’ by the policies of Turkey.
“That 60 Minutes piece did more to publicize around the world the huge religious freedom deficit in Turkey than perhaps any other project. That extraordinary interview led to two other important 60 Minute episodes which included a two part series on Mt. Athos and the religious persecution of Christians in Jerusalem. Hence, the 60 Minutes organization is receiving the Athenagoras Human Rights Award for 2013. The work of the Order at the OSCE annual human rights meetings in Warsaw, Poland led by Archon Fanis Economidis and Archon Achilles Adamantiades, is an important element of our religious freedom program, as are our visitations to the European Union Rotating presidency countries.”