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Archbishop Addresses U.S. Intelligence Community at National Intelligence University

BETHESDA, MD – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros was the honored guest at the National Intelligence University’s Presidential Lecture Series, where he addressed the faculty and student body on the topic of “Russia’s Weaponization of Religion in the Ukraine Conflict.” This historic visit marks the first-ever address by the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to the US intelligence community. The National Intelligence University (NIU) is the US intelligence community’s premier academic institution, with faculty and students from all 18 agencies of the intelligence community (including the CIA, NSA, NGA, FBI, and more) as well as all branches of the US armed forces.

Dr. J. Scott Cameron, President of NIU, extended an invitation to His Eminence to visit NIU and share his unique perspectives, insights, and experiences about the religious dynamics of the Ukraine conflict. Dr. Jake Sotiriadis, Director of NIU’s Research Center for Futures Intelligence and a senior Air Force intelligence officer, facilitated the event and moderated the discussion for hundreds of attendees in the university’s auditorium. His Eminence delivered a speech on the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and discussed the implications of Russia’s distortion of the Orthodox faith in the Ukraine conflict. These topics have recently gained increasing attention within Western academic and political circles. His Eminence aimed to make a meaningful contribution by enhancing the awareness of the ideational aspects of war and conflict within the U.S. national security community. He answered numerous questions from students and faculty who appreciated his unique knowledge and personal experience of a complex issue that demands both nuanced understanding and a sense of urgency.

Archbishop Elpidophoros with the facilitator of the event, Dr. Jake Sotiriadis, Director of NIU’s Research Center for Futures Intelligence and Senior Air Force Intelligence Officer. (Photo: Courtesy of The National Intelligence University)

His Eminence presented a copy of a book on the Ukrainian Church authored by the Archbishop to NIU President Cameron, which will be displayed at the NIU library, along with a commemorative icon in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. After receiving a standing ovation from the audience, Dr. Cameron presented a commemorative NIU folio to His Eminence and expressed his gratitude on behalf of the NIU academic community.

After concluding the lecture, His Eminence traveled to Constantinople where he is currently participating in the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

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