On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate delivered remarks on the pivotal importance of religious freedom and the words and example of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit in Washington, D.C. Dr. Limberakis participated in a panel discussion entitled "Law and Religion: Legal Victories & Tools for IRF.” Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, Visiting Professor in the International Studies Program at Boston College and Vice Chair of the Archon Engagement Committee on Women in Orthodoxy, was the moderator for the discussion.
The IRF Summit 2024 brought together a broad coalition of passionate supporters of religious freedom from around the globe for a two-day in-person event on January 30 and 31. Along with Dr. Limberakis, featured speakers included former Vice President Mike Pence; Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma); Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana), Speaker of the House of Representatives; Representatives Young Kim (D-California), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida), Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida); Rashad Hussain, Ambassador at Large, Office of International Religious Freedom; and many others. Also present was Hon. B. Theodore Bozonelis, National Vice Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
At the Summit, the Archons had a display booth coordinated by Archon Rocky Sisson. This provided a fruitful opportunity to network with other advocates of religious freedom from around the world, including Ukraine.
On Wednesday, January 31, Archon John Gumas flew in from San Francisco to conduct video interviews with Ambassador Sam Brownback and Katrina Lantos Swett, IRF Summit Co-Chairs, along with several other leaders, regarding the Archons’ outreach and social media efforts in Protecting the Future of Faith.
Archons Andrew and Mike Manatos also provided an invaluable service in helping coordinate the Archons’ presentations at the Summit.
In his remarks, National Commander Limberakis pointed out that His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew “has proved to be a successful bridge-builder in a volatile world and time. Indeed, in the face of conflict between Jewish and Muslim communities, he has repeatedly and boldly declared that ‘violence in the name of religion is a crime against religion.’”
Dr. Limberakis added that “the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have relentlessly been bridge-builders, peacemakers; seeking peace and inclusivity at multiple levels, globally and locally. We have organized three International Religious Freedom Conferences in the past few years including our first, at the European Parliament in Brussels entitled Religious Freedom, Turkey’s Bridge to the European Union, then in Berlin entitled Tearing Down Walls, followed by our Washington, DC Conference focusing on Christian Religious Persecution and now we are in the final stages of planning our Fourth International Religious Freedom Conference in Athens, Greece on the protection of Religious Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights. At this time, I am honored to announce that former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo will be one of our featured keynote speakers at our Fourth International Archon Religious Freedom Conference this coming May in Athens. As many of you may know, Secretary Pompeo working together with Ambassador Sam Brownback established the very first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in 2017, upon which this 24th IRF Summit builds upon."
Dr. Prodromou, in introducing Archon Commander Limberakis on the panel, quoted an insightful statement from His All-Holiness: "Your life’s work in the helping profession of medicine links directly your life of service for the Church as Archon Commander." She emphasized the key role that the Ecumenical Patriarchate plays in the entire volatile region of Constantinople and its environs.