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California Legislature unanimously endorses religious freedom resolution for the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Sacramento, CA

States highlighted in LIGHT BLUE indicate that the resolution has been introduced. States highlighted in GOLD indicate final adoption and no further action is necessary. States highlighted in DARK BLUE indicate no resolution has been introduced at this time.
After one year of intense work, the California State Senate Joint Resolution for Religious Freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (SJR 17) has passed unanimously by both houses of the California Legislature, the Senate and the Assembly. The measure passed on Aug. 30. To date, 16 states have adopted similar resolutions.

In 2006, the National Council of the Order of St. Andrew initiated the Religious Freedom Resolutions project. The goal of this project, which represents one component of the overall, multi-faceted Religious Freedom Initiative, is the adoption of religious freedom resolutions in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in every state legislature. The Ecumenical Patriarchate's existence is currently threatened by the persecutory policies of the government of Turkey, which if continues threatens the survival of this nearly 2000 year old institution founded by the First Called Apostle of Christ, Andrew, the brother of Peter.

Last January, the resolution was introduced by California State Senator Elaine Kontominas Alquist and passed unanimously by the State Senate.

Archon Regional Commander Fanis Economidis, who led the successful effort with the critical assistance of many other dedicated individuals, said, "We provided pertinent material so that all of those involved understood the importance of this resolution. The senator and her staff went out of their way to overcome this obstacle. We worked every detail possible together and in the process they became our champions. I am truly indebted to the senator, her chief of staff and her legislative consultant, Melissa Kludjian, with whom I have had daily communication. My heartfelt thanks to His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos for his encouragement and support. To our Archon brothers Angelo Tsakopoulos, George Marcus and their staff, I owe a debt of gratitude for responding to my call for help at a time the whole thing seemed to be slipping away. It was team effort which I will treasure for many years."

In response to this achievement, Senator Elaine Kontominas Alquist said, "With the vote of the Assembly, California is now calling on Turkey to protect the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This is a wonderful development. I am pleased that California will now join the 15 other states that have adopted similar resolutions."

National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis commented, "Having the most populous state in the Union and its 36 million people calling for the religious freedom and protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is inspiring and a tremendous model for the remaining states to emulate. We congratulate Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, Senator Kontominas Alquist whose efforts resulted in the unanimous adoption of the religious freedom resolution, and the hard work of Regional Commander Economidis, Archons Tsakopoulos and Marcus, and all those who stood up for religious freedom reflect the highest principles for which America and the free world represent."

Through the efforts of Archons Stephen Georgeson and Nicholas Loutsion, a page on the Archon web site continues to promote this project. The web page, located under the "Issues" category on the main menu of www.archons.org, contains an interactive map which easily identifies those states that have, or currently are reviewing the religious-freedom resolution. A listing of every state and links to those adopted resolutions are available. This page can be viewed at: archons.org/resolutions

This project is an ongoing effort of the Order of Saint Andrew and represents an important part of the governmental and public affairs strategy of the Religious Freedom Initiative.

To learn more about the Archons efforts toward the Religious Freedom Resolutions Project, visit archons.org/issues

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