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Vice President Joe Biden is recipient of the 2015 Athenagoras Human Rights Award
New York, NY
Archbishop Demetrios of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate together with Archons’ National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis presented the Athenagoras Human Rights Award to Vice President of the United States Joe Biden. The Award was presented during the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Award Banquet held at the New York Hilton, Oct. 17, 2015.
The Order of St. Andrew “is honored to honor you,” said National Commander Limberakis to the Vice President as he presented the award. Dr. Limberakis spoke of the history and the meaning of the Award, the personality and the ministry of the “spiritual giant” Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras of blessed memory who toiled as a partner of the United States in defense of freedom and liberty. He further presented the fight of the Order of St. Andrew in defense of human rights, religious freedom and the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
“The core of the spiritual mission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” he said, “is freedom, freedom in Christ to live at the utmost of our human potential.”
Dr. Limberakis praised Vice President Biden as “a constant friend and a voice of advocacy of the free exercise of the spiritual mission of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
“We thank you for all you have done and all you will do in the future for the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” he concluded.
A video message of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew followed in which the Ecumenical Patriarch paid tribute to the Vice President.
“This is maybe the greatest honor I have ever received in my public life,” said the Vice President in accepting the Award. Biden recounted the fulfilling and moving spiritual experience of his two visits to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, praised Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and said that he is the most blessed man he has ever met in his life, a saintly man. The Vice President said that throughout his career, the absolute commitment to freedom of religion as something we posses simply because we are children of God, has been a guiding principle. Speaking about the Ecumenical Patriarchate, he said that the Greek Orthodox Church must have the right to control its own destiny free of the influence of any government at all.
Archbishop Demetrios, in his response, congratulated and praised Vice President Biden as worthy “Axios” of the Athenagoras Human Rights Award.
“The Vice President is someone who fights for freedom in the real sense,” said the Archbishop and explained “freedom has just one limit, my freedom is absolute up to the point it infringes upon the freedom of the person next to me; the next person is the limit of my freedom. If there is no such a limit, then freedom loses value and meaning and becomes an arbitrary thing causing lots of problems.”
His Eminence citing the French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre who had written that “the other person is my enemy,” asked rhetorically why and answered: “Because he or she –the other person- limits my freedom.”
The Archbishop maintained that, “the other is not your enemy, but someone who is enhancing your freedom, preventing this freedom from becoming something uncontrolled and arbitrary,” and added: “This Vice President exemplifies this kind of freedom, freedom but with respect to the other person, so there is mutuality in our freedom; and the Athenagoras Award has this principle as its basis.”
Archon Michael Psaros introduced the dais guests at the beginning of the program, the national anthems were sung by Eva Agathis. Vice Commander John Halecky, Jr. offered the welcoming remarks. Archon Mike Emanuel, Chief Congressional and Senior Political Correspondent of FOX News was the Master of Ceremonies.
THE NICHOLAS J. BOURAS AWARD FOR EXTRAORDINARY ARCHON STEWARDSHIP
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America joined the Order of Saint Andrew in honoring Hon. Nicholas Tsoucalas by bestowing upon him the "Nicholas J. Bouras Award for Extraordinary Archon Stewardship." The Award was presented during a special celebratory dinner dance held at the New York Hilton Hotel, which launched the Annual Archon Weekend on Friday, October 16, 2015.
Archon Nicholas' was joined by his daughter, Georgia, along with his family as he received the prestigious Award.
In April 1968, Nicholas was appointed a Judge of the Criminal Court of The City of New York. He was appointed Acting Supreme Court Justice for Kings and Queens Counties between January 1975 and January 1982, after which he resumed service as Judge of the Criminal Court.
President Reagan nominated Judge Tsoucalas to the Court of International Trade, which nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June 1986. In addition to his judicial duties with this Court, Judge Tsoucalas has served as a visiting judge in U.S. district courts throughout the country and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second circuit. He became a Senior Judge on September 30, 1996.
In 1996, Archbishop Spyridon appointed Judge Tsoucalas and others on an Advisory Committee at Transfiguration in which he served on the committee for several years.
Judge Tsoucalas was named an Archon with the offikion Hartoularios in March 1987. He is a member of the National Council and was appointed as a chairman of the Nominating Committee in 1998 and continues to serve this post proudly.
Judge Tsoucalas and his wife Catherine have two daughters, Stephanie Turriago, a teacher in the New York public schools, and Georgia Argyrople, an attorney who has worked for the American Cancer Society. Judge Tsoucalas also has five grandchildren, Victoria, Nicholas, Catherine, Vivian and Christina.
TWENTY ARCHONS INVESTED AT THE ARCHDIOCESAN CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY TRINITY
On Sunday morning, Oct. 18, Archbishop Demetrios presided at the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City. Following the Divine Liturgy the ceremony of investiture of the new Archons took place.
The new archons are:
Dr. Nicholas James Bournias, Archon Prostatis Ton Grammaton