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Archons From U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia Vote Unanimously to Request That Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Consider Establishment of Global Archon Organization

The 1st Summit of Global Archons convened on Wednesday morning, May 29, 2024 in the Old Parliament House at the National Historical Museum in Athens, Greece. Archons from the United States, Canada, Greece, other areas of Europe, and Australia met in this first-ever gathering of Archons from around the world in order to discuss ways to coordinate their efforts to defend the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and protect the future of faith worldwide.

Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the United States, said that the Summit was a “joyous, watershed, historic event not just for the Archons, but for the entire Church.” He said that the meeting was intended to develop a proposal and initiative that would establish a new image for the Archons, who date back to the tenth century BC.

After the invocation by His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel, Geron of Chalcedon and the singing of the Apolytikion of Saint Andrew the First-Called, Archon Chrisostomos Perentes, President of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Canada, stated that the convergence of Archons from across the globe demonstrates their unwavering commitment to protecting the Faith and defending the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “By their fruits you shall know them,” said Archon Perentis, quoting Matthew 7:20, and he predicted that the 4th Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom and the 1st Summit of Global Archons would continue to bear fruit for years to come. 

Archon Perentes noted that the Summit was taking place on May 29, the 571st anniversary of the fall of Constantinople. He said that while we adore the holy passion of the Lord, we rejoice in His resurrection. The Empire has fallen, but the Archons continue to shine the light of faith in the world. The Ecumenical Patriarch is still in Constantinople, and stands as a beacon of religious freedom and a testament to the enduring power of the Orthodox Faith.

In his own remarks, Archon Athanasios Martinos, President of the Pammakaristos Brotherhood of Archons in Europe, said that we are blessed with the leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarch; he spoke of the establishment of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation in order to ensure that the Mother Church can fulfill its sacred global mission in perpetuity.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, speaking on video from Constantinople, gave his blessing to the proceedings and observed that for many centuries, the Archons have supported and defended the Church. He noted that they continue to do so today, contributing to ecclesiastical life and social work, as well as by bearing witness to the Faith and doing a great deal of invaluable work for the Church and the Genos.

“Your Patriarch is proud of you,” said His All-Holiness, because of the Archons’ contributions to the Church and to society, facing contemporary challenges with an unshakeable commitment to Christ. In the Orthodox tradition, he stated, seeking what is above does not mean being indifferent to the world, but is a witness to the world, and the Archons are among those who bear that witness.

The world needs this witness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew continued, because a naturalistic view of man cannot be adequate to sustain life. We need spiritual values. The Archons, he said, are co-strugglers in the work of the Church, bringing those values into all the areas of their endeavors. “We appreciate your abilities and your zeal,” said His All-Holiness.

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation, His All-Holiness also said, was a worthy institution that has as its purpose a definitive solution to the financial difficulties that have long plagued the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This solution can only be brought to full fruition, he said, through a common effort and the broad participation of Archons worldwide.

His All-Holiness concluded by expressing the hope that he would one day meet with the Archons in Constantinople.

Dr. Limberakis then disclosed that in the past, His All-Holiness had said, “I feel like a second-class citizen in my own country.” Dr. Limberakis explained: “At that time, I realized that the U.S. Archons had an awesome responsibility to change that and unchain the shackles of religious persecution.” It is an ongoing struggle, he said, but the Berlin Wall came down after eighty years of struggle, and the Archons need to continue laboring for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In his remarks, Metropolitan Emmanuel said that all the assembled Archons were united for the benefit of the Ecumenical Throne. He spoke of the profound sense of humility and acute sense of awareness of the responsibility that this Summit bestowed on all those present. This was, he said, a divinely opportune moment, when the weight of tradition intersected with contemporary realities. 

Metropolitan Emmanuel provided a historical overview of the Archons, pointing out that they were originally part of civic life. When the Church adopted many aspects of the existing civil government, the Archons took on ecclesiastical role, overseeing liturgical functions and managing Church affairs. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the Orthodox Church adopted the Archon role not just for liturgical and administrative duties, but to secure community rights as a religious minority under Muslim rule. In this capacity, the Archons took on a diplomatic aspect. As Archons, Metropolitan Emmanuel continued, you possess a unique opportunity and sacred responsibility to uphold the values of the Orthodox Faith.

Dr. Limberakis then provided an important powerpoint presentation which summarized  the actions of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate over the last few decades. This included building relationships with world leaders such as President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; participating in the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in Crete in 2016; embarking upon a religious freedom mission to Bulgaria, Romania and Greece; interacting with the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; including numerous other initiatives in the United States and throughout Europe with visits to the European Union rotating Presidency countries. 

TheVery Rev. Grand Ecclesiarch Aetios then explained that these activities have led to a new era of warm relations with the Church in Bulgaria, with His All-Holiness invited to be present at the enthronement of a new Patriarch of Bulgaria in several months.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America presented a powerpoint presentation on a matter of vital importance for the Church’s global ministry and future: the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation. He also praised the efforts of Father Alex Karloutsos in mobilizing the community to meet the needs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and Father Alex was given a standing ovation. Explaining the efforts of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation to provide a secure financial footing for the Mother Church amid difficult and uncertain circumstances, His Eminence asked how the Ecumenical Patriarchate could carry out its God-given missionary and social roles without a firm financial base.

Dr. Limberakis then spoke about the Foundation, explain how it is organized, what its structure and goals are, and the safeguards it has in place to ensure its assets are properly managed. He revealed that Archon Martinos had given $300,000 to the Foundation, and Archon Martinos was warmly applauded for his generosity and dedication to the holy Mother Church.

Dr. Limberakis continued his powerpoint presentation to emphasize with the the theme “Imagine” that the Archons could work even more effectively if they had a global structure, and introduced a resolution: “The Global Archons respectfully request His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy Synod to consider the establishment of a formal global organization of Archons.” The resolution was adopted unanimously.

Archon Paris Asanakis, counsel to the Ecumenical Patriarchate then explained the efforts to restore the Greek population of Imvros, which had a large Greek population but became negligible after given to Turkey in the Treaty of Lausanne. He said that the recent increase in the Greek population of Imvros was the first example ever of the return of a minority population to its home in Turkey, and said that the same should be attempted in Constantinople, for there could be no Ecumenical Patriarchate without any Orthodox faithful. His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel pointed out that His All-Holiness himself had undertaken the successful effort to bring people back to Imvros.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros then expressed the hope that in the near future, the Archons would be able to hold a Summit in Constantinople.

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