Archon Michael Psaros receives “The Nicholas J. Bouras” Award from the hands of His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria. Photo: TNH/Chistodoulos Athanasatos
NEW YORK – The warm and enthusiastic applause was gratefully received by Archon Ostiarios of the Order of St. Andrew – Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, businessman and philanthropist Michael Psaros, who was honored with the Nicholas Bouras Award for Extraordinary Archon Stewardship.
The Banquet hosted by the Archons was held in the famed Trianon Ballroom of the New York Hilton Midtown hotel in the presence of Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros II, who the following evening received the ‘Athenagoras Human Rights Award’. Also present was Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, along with leading Greek-Americans.
Psaros received the honorary distinction that is named for the Grand Benefactor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Archdiocese of America, Nicholas J. Bouras, who passed away in 2013.
Psaros, visibly moved, went up to receive the award accompanied by his wife, Robin, and his youngest daughter, Marina. He received the award from the Patriarch of Alexandria, who, had just addressed the guests and praised the energetic Greek-American entrepreneur. At the Patriarch’s side were Archbishop Elpidophoros and the National Commander of the Archons Dr. Anthony Limberakis.
“This is for the man who loved our homeland Greece, the Church, our Ecumenical Patriarchate – our Patriarch Bartholomew – our Archbishop Elpidophoros. May God bless him. His hands are always open, to give joy and hope to people, and we exclaim ‘Axios!'”, said Patriarch Theodoros.
Also in attendance were Congressman Gus Bilirakis, the spiritual adviser to the Order of Saint Andrew Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, the Supreme President of the Order of AHEPA Jimmy Kokotas, and the Consultant to the Publishers of the National Herald, Antonis H. Diamataris with his wife, Litsa.
The audience was welcomed by Dr. Limberakis, who made reference to the character of Michael Psaros, but also to Nikolaos Bouras and his constant contributions to the Church and the Community.
Archon George Safiol went one step further, paralleling the contributions of Bouras during the difficult financial moments of the Archdiocese with those of Psaros, especially regarding the construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center. “When there was a problem in the Church, Nicholas Bouras was there. In the same way, Michael Psaros came forward when we had the problems with St. Nicholas,” said Saffiol, who also chaired the event.
Judge Theodore Bozonelis, a prominent Archon, offered a toast in honor of Psaros, and the event was given another personal touch when Archon Protoekdikos Nicholas J. Trianto, who is the honoree’s uncle, made some personal remarks.
Immediately after receiving the award, Psaros thanked everyone, making special mention of his wife, Robin, whom he thanked for her support with tears in his eyes. He also announced that his eldest daughter, Alexandra, is to be married at St. Nicholas at the World Trade Center.
In his remarks, Psaros emphasized that, “the timing of this award matters. As we all know, last month was centennial of the burning of Smyrna, and of genocide that killed two million people. The giant in my life was my Papou, Mike the Barber, of Halicarnassus in Asia Minor. Only in America could the grandson of an orphan and refugee who survived the killing fields of Asia Minor stand here tonight to receive this award. Papou, this evening belongs to you, to those who survived and to those were martyred. May their memory be eternal.”
He then referred to the new Church of St. Nicholas, declaring, “the completion of the St. Nicholas National Shrine – our American Aghia Sophia and our American Parthenon – is a miracle.”
Psaros also took the opportunity to inform the guests about challenging developments in the East Mediterranean region, including Turkey’s provocations and its perennial hostile attitude towards Orthodoxy. He then mentioned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is accompanied by the hostile tone and aggressive acts of the Moscow Patriarchate, which also targets the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople and in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
Psaros noted that, “Putin is supported by His Beatitude, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who has become, in the words of His All Holiness, Putin’s Altar Boy.”
He continued in exhortatory mode: “Now, in addition to confronting the Turkish issue, the Mother Church and the Archons must confront the dual threat of a hostile Russian Church, backed by a Tsar with enormous financial resources, who together deny the primacy of Constantinople. We should salute the Apostolic wisdom of His All Holiness for the courage to create the autocephalous Ukrainian Church, which granted Ukraine its true independence.”
Psaros concluded with a fervent declaration: “As Archons must redouble our commitment in defense of the faith and the Mother Church. Now is the time for us, the Church Militant, to be worthy of the Church Triumphant.”
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