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Archons honor Rabbi Schneier with Athenagoras Human Rights Award
New York, NY
Schneier was honored for his work as founder and president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith organization of corporate and spiritual leaders from all faiths committed to promote peace, tolerance, and ethnic conflict resolution.
The Award was presented during the Grand Banquet of the Order's annual three-day assembly, Oct. 25, at the New York Hilton. The Award is presented annually to a person or organization, which has consistently exemplified by action, purpose and dedication, concern for the basic rights and religious freedom of all people.
Established in 1986, the Athenagoras Award honors Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras who served as Archbishop of the Americas for 18 years before being elected Ecumenical Patriarch in 1948. He was universally acknowledged as a visionary leader of the world's more than 250 million Orthodox Christians. Patriarch Athenagoras worked for peace among Churches and people throughout his life.
Previous recipients have included Archbishop Iakovos, President Jimmy Carter, President George H.W. Bush, President Mikhael Gorbachev, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, Elie Wiesel, and last year's recipient, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.
In tribute to Schneier, Limberakis said, "As a recipient of 10 honorary doctorates, numerous national and international awards citing his humanitarian and human rights lifetime accomplishments, Rabbi Arthur Schneier is most worthy to receive the 2008 Athenagoras Human Rights Award and we proclaim, 'Axios! Axios! Axios!'"
Archon John A. Catsimatidis then introduced a video tribute to the accomplishments of Rabbi Schneier.
In the video, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew personally greeted and congratulated Rabbi Schneier from the Phanar. His All Holiness and Rabbi Schneier worked closely together as co-chairs of the 1994 Peace and Tolerance Conference in Istanbul, which worked towards bringing an end to the bloodshed in Yugoslavia. In 2005, they co-chaired the second Peace and Tolerance Conference bringing together leaders from all the major faiths promoting peace and tolerance in Southern Europe and Central Asia.
In response, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, a Trustee of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, called Rabbi Schneier, "A most deserving honoree who is internationally known for his leadership on behalf of religious freedom, human rights, and tolerance worldwide with specific interest in Turkey, China, Russia, Central Europe, and the Balkans." The Archbishop concluded by quoting a phrase from the book of the prophet Isaiah to describe the leadership qualities of the honoree as "a wonderful counselor, a wise architect and a prudent listener." (Isaiah 3:3) His Eminence also thanked the Archons of the Order of St. Andrew for their diligent work in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate saying that "they deserve much recognition."