NEW YORK – His Grace Athenagoras [Ziliaskopoulos], Bishop of Nazianzos and Auxiliary Bishop to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, has become a Founders of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation.
Founders of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation have committed to ensuring the financial foundation of the Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, by giving $100,000 over ten years. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation, a watershed initiative of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, is dedicated to achieving economic independence for the Ecumenical Patriarchate so that it may fulfill its apostolic mission in perpetuity.
In explaining the considerations that led him to become a Founder of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation, His Grace stated, “this summer when I was elected Bishop, I bowed before His All-Holiness and I humbly requested his blessing so I can go and give everything I have for the Church. It was at that moment I knew in my heart what my first act of loving service to the Church would be on the day of my ordination. I gave all my beloved guests bombonieres (favors) with a card that explained that, in lieu of gifts, and in the spirit of stewardship, a donation would be made on their behalf to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation to support the Mother Church. I later shared with His All-Holiness, that as a result of the unexpected overwhelming support I received when I became his Auxiliary Bishop, particularly from Canada, Germany, Greece and America, I would now be able to go one step further; rather than a one-time donation, I could instead become a Founder of his Foundation in honor of my ordination guests, both in person and virtually, who showed me Christlike love. With the help of God, this commitment is a small contribution of my indescribable gratitude and profound love for this divine gift of the sacrament of ordination.”
His Grace met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during the summer of his ordination.
His Grace added that, “my hope is that His All-Holiness and the Ecumenical Patriarchate will achieve long-term sustainable support through this Foundation, so they can more effortlessly focus on the sacred ministry and leadership of the Church.”
Regarding the legacy of Patriarch Bartholomew, His Grace remarked:
“His All-Holiness is one of the most distinguished and longest serving Ecumenical Patriarchs in modern history. His legacy is one of unity, with the momentous achievement of the Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church, in Crete. His legacy is one of protecting all of God’s Creation, which earned him the title ‘Green Patriarch.’ And his legacy is one of love, ‘to love thy neighbor as thyself,’ especially in the face of mounting humanitarian crises.
“The mission of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation is absolutely essential to ensure that His All-Holiness can continue the profound work of Christ and the Apostles.”
His Grace concluded by noting that, “the Church teaches that Bishops are descendants of the Apostles and that Christ showed them how to live through His acts of love. I humbly hope that with the help of God and the blessing of His All-Holiness, future Bishops might also be inspired to offer what they can to support the Ecumenical Patriarchate to fulfill its apostolic mission through this integral Foundation. Bishops receive the highest honor of the Holy Ordination from the Mother Church and in return we are called to dedicate our lives to Christ and the Church through loving service, which naturally includes giving back what we can because They gave us everything.”