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Fordham University Professor, Archon National Commander speak at Religious Freedom Symposium

Dr. George E. Demacopoulos, Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Fordham University, was the main speaker and offered insight on the ecclesiological and historical significance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The newly constructed Education and Cultural Center of the St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church in Broomall, Pennsylvania, was the setting on March 7th for the inaugural Symposium presented in the Philadelphia region by the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. His Eminence, Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, along with several National Council members, Archons, and Orthodox faithful of all ages from throughout the Greater Delaware Valley attended the Symposium, entitled, The Ecumenical Patriarchate: A Church in Captivity and the Religious Freedom Crisis in Turkey.

The two-part program began with Fordham University Professor George E. Demacopoulos, Ph.D., whose expertise is Catholic-Orthodox relations between the 5th and 14th centuries, presenting a chronological and ecclesiological overview of why the Ecumenical Patriarchate is so important not only to Eastern Orthodoxy but to the entire Christian world. This historical perspective segued to the second half of the Symposium, the present situation at the Phanar.


National Commander Anthony J. Limberakis, MD offered a presentation highlighting the history of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s Religious Freedom crisis with recent news and developments pursued by Archons with leaders in Washington, Ankara, Istanbul, Brussels, and Strasbourg. (Photos by J. Mindala)

In the afternoon session, Archon National Commander Anthony Limberakis, M.D. discussed the five major issues confronting the Ecumenical Patriarchate in its struggle for religious freedom in Turkey: 1) Government interference in Patriarchal elections, 2) Non-recognition of “Ecumenical” status, 3) No legal identity, 4) Closing of seminary and inability to train new clergy, and 5) Confiscation of property. He concluded by describing the initiatives being pursued at the highest level by the Order here in the United States and in Europe.

Metropolitan Evangelos offered his gratitude to both presenters, Archon Regional Commander Dr. Cary Limberakis, symposium moderator, and to Father Christ Kontos and the parish community for hosting the event. His Eminence concluded by stressing the importance of prayer, especially during this Lenten Season, for the persecuted Mother Church of Constantinople and commended the Archon’s efforts in pursuit for religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

View photos of the Symposium

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