Archon News

Dr. Anthony Limberakis to Orthodox Times: Turkey denies institutional human rights to Ecumenical Patriarchate

Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, Archon Megas Aktouarios and National Commander of the Archons in America, gave an interview to orthodoxtimes.com in light of the Fourth International Conference of the Archons for Religious Freedom.

In the interview, Dr. Limberakis discussed the objectives of the Conference, the challenges facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the future prospects for both the Patriarchate and the Archons.

Read Dr. Limberakis’ interview to orthodoxtimes.com and to journalist Efi Efthimiou

-Dr. Limberakis, welcome to Athens. How important is it for you personally, and for the Archons as a whole, that this Conference is held in the Greek capital? What are the Archons’ ties to Greece?

Before I answer any questions, allow me to thank His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his encouragement and guidance as we plan the Conference and the first-ever meeting of Archons from around the world.

I anticipate significant presentations, deliberations and concrete action-steps to evolve as a result of our Conference and First Summit of Global Archons.

Firstly, the offikion Archon, is a title derived from ancient Greece so our very name is Greek going back to the 10th Century BC. Archon means leader! In essence, the Archons from around the world are returning to our ancient roots in the spirit of Pericles, Themistocles and Constantine the Great, all Archons!

In modern times, our sacred role as an Archon, is to defend and promote the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Spiritual Center of World Orthodoxy…and Orthodoxy is intrinsically tied to Hellenism, the original language of the New Testament, as Hellenism is intrinsically tied to Orthodoxy.

Athens is the birthplace of democracy and the ideas of a republic and a free society have now spread all over the world. Wherever there is democracy, there is religious freedom…. In Russia, in China and in other totalitarian regimes where democracy does not exist, religious freedom does not exist. Consequently, Athens is the most fitting place in the world for this conference to take place, the birthplace of democracy.

An important reason to come to Athens is to honor and support our Brother Archons of Panagia Pammakaristos lead by Brother Archon Athanasios Martinos who is an extraordinary supporter of His All-Holiness Bartholomew and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

-The topic of the Conference refers to democracy and religious freedom. Amidst ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, the relevance of the Conference’s message could not be more timely. Especially in the case of Ukraine, where an Orthodox country declared war on another Orthodox country. How much can the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate contribute to the defense of religious freedoms in the Orthodox world?

Through this conference and numerous other initiatives, the Archons can do a great deal to raise awareness of:

The collusion of the Moscow Patriarchate with the Russian state, and the co-opting of the Russian Church for the advancement of Russia’s political and territorial imperialism

The plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the denial of its institutional human rights by the Turkish state.

The canonical correctness and practical wisdom of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in essence he single-handedly granted religious freedom to 43 million Orthodox Christians!

-How important is Michael Pompeo’s presence at this year’s Conference of Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate?

As the 70th Secretary of State and direct successor of Thomas Jefferson the very first Secretary of State under George Washington, Mr. Pompeo represents the solidarity of the government of the United States, which is fully committed to protecting religious freedom and safeguarding the future of faith. In fact, it was Secretary Pompeo who convened the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom sponsored by the United States Department of State and where over 1,000 participants from around the world deliberated on this urgent issue….did you know that two-thirds of the world’s population suffers from religious persecution and some degree of religious restrictions.

-The members of the Order of Saint Andrew Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have vowed “to defend and promote the Greek Orthodox faith and tradition”. How easy is this target in the current period?

It is never easy, as the Lord Jesus told us: “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) In every age, the Holy and Great Church of Christ walks the way of the cross. But after the crucifixion comes the resurrection. As Archons, we are prepared to sacrifice anything and everything for the protection and safety of our Holy Mother Church, and for the Greek Orthodox Church as a whole. We are not deterred by the difficulty of our mission.

-How do you imagine/envision the future of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Archons? What are the goals and what difficulties do you expect to encounter?

I envision the Ecumenical Patriarchate to continue at the Phanar, a most sacred space in perpetuity, continuing to exist in a challenging and at times an asphyxiating milieu. The one constant that His All-Holiness can rely on is the unwavering support of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate…. In America, in Europe, in Canada, in Australia and all over the world. We are confident that the respective governments of the local Archons will support the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as the United States has.

Through the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation, we have taken and continue to take concrete steps to ensure that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be able to fulfill its global sacred mission in perpetuity through fortifying its economic underpinnings.

The future of the Church, and of the Archons, is in the hands of Almighty God, and we labor for Him in the confidence that He will safeguard His Holy Church.

We expect there will be continued difficulties from the governments of Russia and Turkey. But in the face of them, we are resolute, and joyful in the Lord and will always remain optimistic that ultimately, good triumphs over evil.

*Dr. Antonios Lymberakis is Archon Megas Aktouarios, National Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America Conference Co-Chair

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