The Order of St. Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was organized on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 10, 1966 when His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos conferred upon thirty outstanding laymen of the Church the various Offikia or Offices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on behalf of His All Holiness Patriarch Athenagoras of blessed memory. They were honored because of their love, loyalty and support of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Offikia for the Order of St. Andrew derive from some of the most prestigious offices of the ancient world. Originating in the Ancient Greek City-States, these civic offices were transformed when the Roman Empire embraced the Christian faith during the fourth century. As a consequence of this transition, not only were the office-holders important leaders of the Christian community, the offices themselves took on specific religious responsibilities for the service and promotion of the faith in the Roman Empire. The ancient order of Archons is, in fact, the oldest and most prestigious honor that can be bestowed upon a layman in the entire Christian world. The Order, under the supervision of its historian will be publishing an official, scholarly academic reference book on the Archon Offikia, including their derivation and historical development which will be released during Archon Weekend, October 14 ~ 16, 2016.
On the occasion of our 50th Anniversary, we take this opportunity to recommit ourselves as Defenders of the Faith to the Spiritual Center of world Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarchate under the extraordinary leadership of His All-Holiness Bartholomew, who observes his 25th Anniversary as Ecumenical Patriarch on November 2, 2016. We recommit ourselves to fighting for religious freedom and the vitality of Saint Andrew's See, notwithstanding the oppressive environment where it is located and where religious freedom does not exist in that entire part of the world.
The Order is looking forward to support the efforts of His All-Holiness as he convenes the Holy and Great Council this June in Crete, the first such assembly of Orthodox prelates since 787 AD, the Seventh Ecumenical Council that took place in Nicaea, as well as all his initiatives from protecting the environment to promoting reconciliation among warring factions to unity among all Christians.
On this our 50th Anniversary, the Archons of America under the inspired leadership of His Eminence Geron Archbishop Demetrios of America, express our profound love and respect to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, our worldwide spiritual father, now for 25 years and with the anticipation that he will continue for many, many more years his pious, intrepid and Christ-like spiritual leadership.
In the Service of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD