NEW YORK – Archon Michael Psaros the recipient of this year’s ‘Nicholas Bouras Award for Extraordinary Archon Stewardship’, delivered a thoughtful and dynamic speech upon accepting the Award.
Excerpts from the speech follow:
“From our standpoint, our family is receiving the Bouras Award for simply doing what is right and what is expected of us. We are blessed, and with that blessing comes a moral obligation to give. My family believes, as it is said in Luke” ‘For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required.’ We believe, as St. John Chrysostom said: ‘The rich man is not one who has much, but one who gives much away. For what he gives away remains his forever.
“The most deserving recipient of the Bouras Award is my wife, Robin, my partner not only in life but also in our philanthropy endeavors. While I may be the public face of this partnership, we are a team. Robin you are my angel, my conscience, and my rock. You have brought an elegance, a beauty, and a poetry into my life and created a family. Even after almost 30 years of marriage, I do not have the words to thank you for your selflessness, humility, grace, wisdom, and unconditional love. Robin, ‘se agapo’.
“I thank our children, Alexandra, Leo, and Marina for their love and support. Your Mother and I are proud of the accomplished young adults you have become, grounded in the right values and in our faith. When I look into your eyes, I see true Icons. I love you more than you will ever know. I thank you for always understanding my absences. “Our family is excited that our oldest daughter, Alexandra, will be married next May at the St. Nicholas National Shrine, which for our family, is poetic.
“I thank my parents, Mary Ann and George, and my brother, Harry. My parents sacrificed everything for my brother and me. I grew up with my Parents’ unconditional love and owe them everything. They taught me what matters in life, and they are the embodiment of ‘philotimo’.
I thank my grandparents. As immigrants from Chios and Asia Minor, they escaped the banality of war and deprivation. They taught my generation faith not through words, but rather through the example of how they lived their lives. I will always be in awe of how they sacrificed everything for the next generation. They are my heroes.
“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.
“We live in a world where Christianity is being persecuted around the globe. In the Middle East, we witnessed the slaughter of 400,000 Christians and the annihilation of ancient communities by ISIS before it was destroyed by the Trump Administration. The same atrocities occur every day in Africa and Asia. The persecution continues and the West remains silent.
“We live in a world where Erdogan persecutes the Mother Church, confiscates its properties, denies its existence, converted the greatest Church ever built into a mosque, makes territorial claims over most of the Aegean and sovereign Greek islands, repudiated long established treaties, sends his air force every day to violate another country’s sovereign airspace, sends his navy to do the same, sent troops for no reason other than ego to fight in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere, held hands on a stage with Putin and Iran’s Raisi after the Ukraine invasion, denies genocide, continues the occupation of Cyprus, rigs elections, and is responsible for the recent military hostilities by Azerbaijan against Orthodox Christian Armenia.
“We live in world where Putin has taken the world’s biggest Orthodox country to war with the second largest Orthodox country in an act of fratricide. A Slavic Orthodox brother attacking and killing another Slavic Orthodox brother. Putin is supported by His Beatitude, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who has become, in the words of His All Holiness, Putin’s Altar Boy. 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.”