CHICAGO – After a two-year hiatus when they were not able to meet in person due to the pandemic, the Metropolis of Chicago Archons held their 7th Annual Metropolis of Chicago Business Retreat in person at the Saint Iakovos Retreat Center in Kansasville, Wisconsin.
His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago, Father Stamatios Sfikas from the Annunciation Cathedral in Chicago, and two family members of Regional Commander Emeritus Harold Peponis of blessed memory were among the honored guests at this year’s retreat.
During the meeting, Regional Commanders Gus M. Pablecas and John G. Manos recognized the recently invested Archons Dr. George Bovis, ‘Ostiarios’, and Dr. Jeremy Orhyon, ‘Determinefs’, and the Metropolis of Chicago Archons named to Archon National Committees in the past year, including National Council Member John S. Koudounis, ‘Eftaxias’; Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation Investment Committee Members Robert A. Buhler, ‘Referendarios’, John S. Koudounis, ‘Eftaxias’, and William Spell, ‘Laosynaktis’; and National Secretary Gus M. Pablecas, ‘Ostiarios’. They also remembered the Archons from our Metropolis who have fallen asleep in the Lord: Archons Gus A. Chafoulias, ‘Hieromnimon’; Dr. George Korkos, ‘Aktouarios’; and Anthony A. Nichols, ‘Notarios’.
Religious freedom was also a theme of the business meeting, and included a discussion on religious persecution throughout the world taking place today and the impact of the war in Ukraine.
The Archons also discussed local and national Archon initiatives currently taking place, shared thoughts and ideas as to how to continue the Archons’ mission and Archon involvement, reviewed upcoming local and national Archon-related events, reviewed the matching grant opportunities the Metropolis of Chicago Archons established with the Renaissance Fund and the Hellenic Foundation to help further their mission at the local level, and discussed ways to help the Metropolis of Chicago in general.
After the business meeting, the Archons formally dedicated the ‘prosikinitario’ of Saint Andrew, which was installed in the Tomaras Lodge at the Saint Iakovos Retreat Center in memory of Regional Commander Emeritus Harold Peponis. His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael and Father Stamatios Sfikas presided over the dedication. Archon Peponis’ wife, Faye Peponis, and son, Arthur Peponis, along with the Archons and spouses were in attendance.
The Retreat culminated with a lecture by Archon Aristotle Papanikolaou, who is a professor at Fordham University, and serves as the Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture, and co-founding Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University.
His presentation, titled ‘Russia, Religion, Ukraine,’ explored the role of religion in the current Russian invasion of Ukraine. Professor Papanikolaou discussed the history of the relation between Russian and Ukrainian people; the emergence of the Russian Orthodox Church as a public political actor in Russia in the post-Soviet period; the use of Russian religious soft power in Russian foreign policy; and why Patriarch Kirill is supporting the war.