|On behalf of the Order of Saint Andrew, National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis accepts the AHI Religious Freedom Award from Archon Nick Larigakis, President and Archon Dr. Spiro Spireas, Foundation President, March 9, 2013.|
The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) bestowed their Religious Freedom Award upon the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, during its 38th Anniversary Hellenic Heritage Achievement and Public Service Awards Dinner, March 9, 2013, at the Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.
Archons Nick Larigakis, AHI President, and Dr. Spiro Spireas, AHI Foundation President, honored a distinguished set of awardees that evening, based upon their important career or institutional achievements and contributions to the Greek American community or community at-large. Accepting on behalf of the Order was its National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, who stated:
"I would like to begin by congratulating and expressing our profound gratitude to Mrs. Angelopoulos and the Angelopoulos Family for their unparalleled philanthropy to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which enabled the Phanar, to rebuild its compound after it was destroyed by fire in the 1940's. We are deeply grateful Mrs. Angelopoulos, for your family's extraordinary beneficence in sustaining the Mother Church."
"The Order of St. Andrew is the only organization in the United States whose exclusive mission is to defend the Mother Church of Constantinople, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. We consistently and systematically bring the issue of religious freedom of the Mother Church and other religious minorities in Turkey to the European Union and its rotating presidency nations, to the largest human rights meetings in Europe in Warsaw, Poland, the OSCE human dimension meetings, European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, andto the White House…We travel to Ankara, and together with our ambassador of the United States, meet with the government leaders with the simple message: reopen Halki, return our properties, stop interfering in the election of the Ecumenical Patriarch, respect the title of “Ecumenical,” and recognize the world center of Orthodoxy for what it is—the center of spiritual salvation and a corporate entity with legal personality. In the eyes of the Turkish government the Ecumenical Patriarchate does not exist and that must end."
Dr. Limberakis added, "I am compelled to pay tribute to the American Hellenic Institute for its herculean efforts to promote religious freedom of the Mother Church under the leadership of its founder, Archon Eugene Rossides, and its president, Archon Nick Larigakis, and together with Archon Dr. Spiros Spireas. AHI has been impactful and consequential…AHI has been front and center in leading the charge for religious freedom by working to pass the historic H.Res.50, a resolution on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarchate [eventually passed as law in Section 2804 of the FY1998 Omnibus Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act]. AHI has been relentless in its pursuit for law and justice for Cyprus and seeking relief for the Hellenic Republic."
He concluded by noting that although as individuals we may have different agendas but "we are all united by one Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and one spiritual father, His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch."
The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.