-> News -> News Article
NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is recipient of Athenagoras Human Rights Award
New York, NY
Archbishop Demetrios of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate together with Archon National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis presented the Athenagoras Human Rights Award to New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo at the New York Marriott Marquis, Oct. 15, 2016. Governor Cuomo has been a strong advocate for religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and was the instrumental person in the process of securing an agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey regarding the rebuilding and resurrection of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center--the only house of worship destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
In recognizing the Governor's long history and connection to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the National Commander said, "[In 1990] Governor Mario Cuomo and his beloved wife Matilda, hosted Patriarch Dimitrios, Metropolitan Bartholomew of Chalcedon, and the entire Patriarchal retinue at the World Trade Center. It was a quintessential New York moment, and in the midst of that fellowship and fraternity high atop the Twin Towers, who could have ever imagined that those Towers would come crashing down in the most horrific attack on United States soil in our history, ripping away three thousand lives... and one small church."
Dr. Limberakis praised Governor Cuomo, saying, "And then decades later, after the terror of those days, the continuous healing for the bereft families, and the long struggle to rebuild Ground Zero back into the World Trade Center, it was you, Governor Cuomo, in the same position as your ever-memorable father, who led the way to a solution for the little Church that ultimately comes under the Ecumenical Patriarch. You provided the Solomon-like wisdom that we needed to bring the Church and the Port Authority to the very happy conclusion that Saint Nicholas would be rebuilt at Ground Zero. You brought full circle the hospitality of your father at the World Trade Center... by finding a just and equitable solution for the World Trade Center. You merit our thanks and our praise for your central role in providing fairness and justice to the decision process surrounding Saint Nicholas. Perhaps in this we see a small consequence of the fact that your name is "Andrew," the first-called Disciple who founded the Church of Constantinople, and that your birthday is December 6th, the Feastday of Saint Nicholas whose Shrine is now rising in Liberty Park, casting its light over all who come to pay their respects and tributes at the 9/11 Memorial."
In his response, Governor Cuomo said, "When Archbishop Demetrios spoke about St. Nicholas, I heard Archbishop Iakovos' voice, I heard my father's voice. I heard them saying what better place than 9-11 to have a monument, a sanctuary that says we are all one people and all are invited to one, holy place. St. Nicholas is going to be the only Church on Ground Zero with a beautiful history, there since 1916, one of the first places that the Greek immigrants would visit. The first touch stone, they would land on Ellis Island and they would take a ferry over and St. Nicholas was right there downtown so they could get off that boat and they could step into a Church where they felt comfortable and they felt reassured with the peace of home. A beautiful history, but also a beautiful future."
The Governor continued, "Because the new St. Nicholas is going to be bigger and better than ever. Saying on the side of 9-11, the side of the greatest hate, I offer you love. That's what St. Nicholas is going to say, because love is better than hate. I offer you inclusion, because inclusion is better than exclusion. I offer you good, because good defeats evil. And I give you a place of holiness and beauty to say, 'we are one and let us come together and focus on our similarities and let's disregard our differences'. That is St. Nicholas. That's why Archbishop Demetrios stayed on this project with his quiet persistence year after year, after year. That's why the State of New York made a terrible mistake for all those years where they didn't honor their original agreement to build St. Nicholas. And that's why as Governor of the State of New York, one of a handful of beautiful accomplishments that I'll have for the rest of my life, is being able to visit that new St. Nicholas. Knowing what it stands for. Knowing who built it. Knowing what it means to the Greeks. Knowing what it means to the world. I ask for one thing: In one corner, a little picture of two great friends, two great men who always believed we could be better than we are--Archbishop Iakovos and Mario Cuomo."
Archon Michael Psaros, Banquet Chair, introduced the dais guests at the beginning of the program, the national anthems were sung by Eva Agathis. Archon Ernie Anastos, Emmy Award Winner, Fox 5 News, served as 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 Theofanis V. Economidis 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 Marriott Marquis, which launched the Annual Archon Weekend on Friday, October 14, 2016.
Archon Theofanis was joined by his daughter, Roberta, as he received the prestigious Award.
Mr. Economidis has been an active member of the Greek American Community including: Past President of the United Hellenic Societies Federation of Northern California; Founding member and Chairman of the Board of the Elios Society since its inception for sixteen years ; President of the Board of Hellenic Journal, the only Greek American newspaper west of Chicago; Member of the Metropolis Council of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco for over thirty years where he has been serving as Vice President since 1996; and Member of the Board and Managing Director of St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center.
In 1968 Fanis married Cynthia (Efstathia) Bagles from Sheboygan, Wisconsin and they enjoyed 46 years of marriage until her passing in 2014. Cynthia had a prestigious 34-year tenure of service at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee where she was a professor in The Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. They have one daughter, Roberta (Hariklia), who is a prominent attorney in San Francisco.
TWENTY ARCHONS INVESTED AT THE ARCHDIOCESAN CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY TRINITY
On Sunday morning, Oct. 16, 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:
Peter G. Chiopelas
Frank N. Demeris
John A. Hilaris
Michael Gene Kavourias
John Spiro Koudounis
Nicholas George Latousakis
William George Lianos
Richard Kelly McGee
Christopher George Rongos
Byron Alexander Scordelis
Franklin Gay Sisson, Jr.
George Alexander Stamboulidis
Andrew Chris Zachariades