With the blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, an Archdiocesan delegation accompanied His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to Brussels, Belgium from November 9 to 11, 2019 on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary/Golden Jubilee of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Belgium. His Eminence Metropolitan Athenagoras of Belgium hosted the delegation, which was led by Father Alexander Karloutsos, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of America and Spiritual Advisor of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, and Presbytera Xanthi Karloutsos.
Distinguished delegates in attendance were the National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis and Dr. Maria A. Limberakis, Archon John A. Catsimatidis, Vice-Chairman of the Archdiocese, and Margo Catsimatidis, Archon Hon. B. Theodore Bozonelis, National Secretary of the Order and Secretary of the Archdiocese, and Helen Bozonelis, Archon Michael and Libby Angeliades, Archon William and Elizabeth Doucas, Archon Dr. George Korkos, Archon John and Marisa Payiavlas, Maria Allwin, Dr. Peter Michalos and Jillian Nelson.
The delegates were greeted in Brussels on Saturday, November 9 by Archon Boris Gurov of the Holy Metropolis of Belgium and his wife, Youlianna Gurov, who assisted the delegation and also served as its host in Belgium, accompanying the delegation to all events and participating in them.
Upon their arrival in Belgium, the delegation traveled to Kasterlee, Belgium, where they attended a luncheon in honor of His All-Holiness hosted by Archon Theo Roussis of the Metropolis of Belgium. Each delegate had an opportunity to introduce himself or herself to His All-Holiness, and to express their respect and love to him.
Later in Brussels, the delegation attended Vespers, led by His All-Holiness at the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Archangels in the presence of Belgian authorities, diplomats, representatives of other denominations, and the Orthodox faithful.
Thereafter, Archon Boris and Youlianna hosted a dinner in honor with discussions centered on religious freedom, the European Union, and other important issues.
On Sunday November 10, the delegation attended Matins and Divine Liturgy presided by His All-Holiness at the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Archangels, with multiple Orthodox bishops and clergy. An official banquet in honor of His All-Holiness, was hosted by the Metropolis of Belgium, with over 1000 in attendance. In his remarks, His Eminence recognized the participation of and expressed gratitude to the Archdiocesan delegation of America and the Archons of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle.
On Monday, November 11, the Order, led by National Commander Limberakis, hosted a private breakfast in honor of His All-Holiness, in which each delegate was given time to address His All-Holiness on issues of concern for the Archdiocese of America and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The delegates engaged in candid and frank discussions with His All-Holiness on various important and pertinent matters, and all expressed their gratitude to His All-Holiness for the election and enthronement of Archbishop Elpidophoros. His All-Holiness listened intently and made remarks as each delegate spoke of their concerns. His All-Holiness commented upon and clearly recognized the importance of the issues.
The delegation concluded the events with a luncheon hosted by Belgians Alexander and Catherine Kartalis at their home in Brussels as discussions summarized the importance of all events attended and the special and productive time spent with His All-Holiness.