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Public Statements of Interest

REPORT of National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis
to the Annual Archon Assembly

October 27, 2007
New York, NY

To the esteemed and noble Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate /
Order of St. Andrew in America

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior!

From the outset, we take this opportunity to express our profound respect, love and fidelity to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and to the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America. Our pious spiritual fathers, including the hierarchy of the Ecumenical Throne in the United States encourage, inspire and guide us as we serve the Mother Church.

One the one hand, the work of the Order regarding the advocacy of religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate has had profound impact with our government and with officials of the European Union. But on the other hand, there has been little real progress on the ground in Turkey regarding these unalienable rights that western democratic nations take for granted. We have witnessed concrete steps initiated in Washington to improve the status of the Phanar in Turkey. We have seen specific language we have been promoting appear in important EU documents regarding Turkey's EU accession which pertain to the lack of legal personality, the lack of property rights, the inability to train clergy and property confiscation. Yet Turkey still does not recognize the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a legal entity, has not returned any confiscated properties, the Halki School of Theology is still shut down. In fact, Turkey's Supreme Court has criminalized the term "ecumenical" and continues to defend its confiscation of the Patriarchal Orphanage in the European Court of Human Rights. Experiencing the spiritual and physical harassment of the Archon Pilgrims witnessing the Papal Voyage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate last November by Turkish authorities at the Cathedral of St. George was outrageous but emblematic of the Turkish state and its disregard for human rights and religious freedom.

We now look forward to the work of the Archon Legal Committee, and in particular the Litigation Subcommittee as it seeks juridical redress of these insidious issues that slowly asphyxiate the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In closing, allow me to express what a tremendous privilege and honor it is for me to serve the needs of the Holy and Great Mother Church of Constantinople, side by side with my brother Archons. To work daily with our Spiritual Adviser Fr. Alex Karloutsos, National Vice Commander Nicholas J. Bouras, Secretary John Halecky, Jr., Treasurer James C. Fountas, Legal Counselor Christopher Stratakis, Sergeant at Arms Alex Pritsos and the entire National Council is both humbling and inspiring.

In the Service of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,

Anthony J. Limberakis, MD
Archon Aktouarios
National Commander

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