Dear Brother Archons and Family and Friends of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate:
“Today, the Virgin bears Him who is transcendent, and the earth presents the cave to Him who is beyond reach. Angels, along with shepherds glorify Him. The Magi make their way to Him by a star. For a new child has been born for us, the God before all ages.”
On the blessed day of our Lord’s Nativity this year, there is so very much for which we are thankful! Above all, the Only-begotten Son and Logos of God, being immortal, condescended for our salvation to take flesh from the holy Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary and, without change, became man. And throughout the year 2023, He has showered upon us His superabundant blessings.
One principal blessing for which I give thanks to Almighty God every day is the gift of each and every one of you. You and your families are a strong bulwark and support in defense of our Holy Mother Church of Constantinople and His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, our worldwide spiritual father. In these turbulent times, when it can appear as if evil forces are particularly emboldened, I am honored and humbled that each one of you stands with me to protect and defend the sacred Center of our Holy Orthodox Faith.
Throughout 2023, because of the tireless efforts of so many of you, we expanded our efforts in myriad ways. As always, we recognized those who shine light into a darkened world: we honored the Prince’s Trust, one of the world’s premier international charities, with the Athenagoras Human Rights Award, and Cappella Romana, which brought the glories of Byzantine chant to the entire world at the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, with the Archon Sophia Award. All over the country, Archons informed and enlightened Orthodox Christians of all ages regarding the plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the role of the Archons in standing for our Holy Mother Church.
As 2024 approaches, we are looking forward once again to defending our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate and religious freedom in the international arena. Our Fourth International Archon Conference, Protecting Religious Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights, is scheduled for May 26-28, 2024 in Athens, Greece. We are also joyfully anticipating the first Global Summit of Archons, which will be held immediately following the International Archon Conference, on May 29, 2024, also in Athens. I fervently hope that this Global Summit will establish ways in which all of the Archons of our Holy Mother Church can work synergistically to ensure the religious freedom and financial security of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
And so as we celebrate the joyous day of the Lord’s birth, let us remember to give thanks. We thank our newborn Savior for the unprecedented thirty-two-year ministry of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and for his continued health and vigor. We thank Him for the gift of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros to the Archdiocese of America, and for the ways in which he has enriched and enlightened us all. We thank Him for our to our Spiritual Advisor, Protopresbyter Father Alex Karloutsos, who in his trademark indefatigable way is always there for the Archons as we relentlessly launch domestic and international efforts for the good of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. We also remain grateful for all our beloved parish priests under the jurisdiction of the Holy Mother Church, and for all our Brother Archons and their families, for your continued devotion to the Holy Mother Church of Constantinople.
Once again, it is important to remember that without the love, encouragement, patience and understanding of our wives and families, we could not stand as Defenders of the Faith and of our Holy Mother Church. So let us give thanks for them above all, and be ardent in expressing that love throughout this blessed season.
Maria and I and our children and grandchildren once again wish our brother Archons and their beloved families the most joyous, blessed, peaceful and beautiful of Christmases.
Yours in defense of the Holy Mother Church,
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD
Archon Megas Aktouarios