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The EU and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, a fortress under siege

The following article appeared on The European Times, written by Willy Fautré, former chargé de mission at the Cabinet of the Belgian Ministry of Education and at the Belgian Parliament, and longtime friend of the Archons.

Fautré is the director of Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), an NGO based in Brussels that he founded in December 1988. His organization defends human rights in general with a special focus on ethnic and religious minorities, freedom of expression, women’s rights and LGBT people. HRWF is independent from any political movement and any religion. Fautré has carried out fact-finding missions on human rights in more than 25 countries, including in perilous regions such as in Iraq, in Sandinist Nicaragua or in Maoist held territories of Nepal. He is a lecturer in universities in the field of human rights. He has published many articles in university journals about relations between state and religions. He is a member of the Press Club in Brussels. He is a human rights advocate at the UN, the European Parliament and the OSCE.

The EU and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, a fortress under siege

East of the European Union, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, 84, courageously holds a vulnerable fortress defending the historical presence of Christianity in Turkey, which has been under threat for centuries and more particularly under President Erdogan’s rule.

The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

From 26 to 29 May, the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of America, Australia, Canada and Europe organized their 4th International Conference on Religious Freedom in Athens, with a special focus on the situation in Turkey. The previous ones since 2010 had been held in Brussels, Berlin and Washington.

Anthony J. Limberakis who has been the National Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1998, had invited prestigious speakers, such as

  • Michael R. Pompeo, Former U.S. Secretary of State
  • Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
  • Evangelos Venizelos, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2013-2015), Professor of Constitutional Law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • U.S. Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, George J. Tsunis
  • Mayor of Athens Haris Doukas
  • Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vilnius Gintaras Grusas (Lithuania) 

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, elected in October 1991 as the 270th Archbishop of the 2000-year-old Church, addressed the audience in Athens by video from Istanbul. A wide range of hierarchs, archbishops and metropolitans from various EU countries, the UK and the United States also contributed to the debates about religious freedom with the audience.

The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is a devoted group of passionate leaders, relentlessly focused on protecting religious freedom for everyone and ensuring the future of the Ecumenical Patriarchate – the historical spiritual center of the world’s 300+ million Orthodox Christians. Most archons are Greek-American and constitute a sort of Praetorian Guard committed to the defence of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Greek Orthodox Churches in Turkey against President Erdogan. Their number is voluntarily limited to dedicated influential philanthropist leaders: currently about 290 members from 22 countries.

The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was founded on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, 10 March 1966 to support the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well as to contribute to its advancement and welfare.

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