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Church

Archon Conference Welcome Dinner Held at Acropolis Museum

ATHENS – The first day of the 4th International Conference on Religious Freedom presented by the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate concluded the evening of May 27 with a Welcome Dinner at the Acropolis Museum hosted by Archon Athanasios and Marina Martinos.

(4th International Conference on Religious Freedom of the Archons Begins in Athens)

The featured speaker was U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Archon Hypomnematografos George J. Tsunis, who joined the others in welcoming Archons from all over the world at the elegant venue with the beautifully lit Acropolis visible in the background.

The Ambassador addressed the theme of the conference, ‘Protecting Religious Freedom, Democracy & Human Rights’, warning of the dangers of persons and nations remaining silent in the face of threats to values and societies. “We need to stand up…the Talmud says “you are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. Speaking to the Archons he said, “I think everyone understands the importance of the work and the importance of this organization. We know this is a long game, and I’m honored to walk besides you on your journey… and I have a dream. One day, we will be together in Athens, or Jerusalem, or in Rome, or in Constantinople and we will say ‘mission accomplished’ – that the work is done, that everyone’s inalienable rights are protected and that religious freedom is available to everyone in the world and everyone has the opportunities that we are blessed to have.” He concluded, “that day is not today. The needs remain, the work continues….”

U.S. Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis addressed Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Welcome Dinner of the 4th International Conference on Religious Freedom that was held in the Acropolis Museum. PHOTO: TNH /C. Sirigos

The Invocation was offered by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America representing Patriarch Bartholomew. He later thanked Tsunis for his work as Ambassador and his contributions as an Archon.

Athanasios Martinos, Archon Exarchos, President of the Pammakaristos Brotherhood of Archons in Europe and Conference Co-Chair, also welcomed the guests, as did, Co-Chair Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, Archon Megas Aktouarios and National Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. A toast was then offered by Judge Theodore Bozonelis, Archon Ekdikos and National Vice Commander of the Archons.

Dr. Nikos Stampolidis, Director-General of the Acropolis Museum, had earlier led a private tour of the magnificent museum. At the dinner he expressed his delight in hosting the Archons, and took the opportunity to recruit them to the great cause of recovering the Parthenon marbles and placing them in the special hall just above them in the museum.

At the close of the dinner, Marina Martinos was presented flowers by the women who organized the dinner in thanks for her contributions to its success.

The benediction was offered by Archbishop of Vilnius, Gintaras Grušas, President of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences of the Catholic Church, who spoke earlier that day at the Conference’s first session.

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