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Archon Behrakis becomes first recipient of ‘Bouras Stewardship Award’

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston together with National Commander Anthony J. Limberakis, MD, Archons Jim Fountas, John Halecky and George Safiol, present the Nicholas J. Bouras Award for Extraordinary Archon Stewardship to Archon George D. Behrakis. (Photo by D. Panagos)
View photos of the Nicholas J. Bouras Stewardship Award celebration »

The Order of Saint Andrew honored George D. Behrakis, Archon Depoutatos, on June 5 by bestowing upon him the “Nicholas J. Bouras Award for Extraordinary Archon Stewardship.”  Archon Behrakis became the first recipient of this prestigious award during a special tribute dinner dance attended by more than two-hundred people at the Metropolitan Club in New York.

The evening began with welcoming remarks and a personal reflection delivered by Archon George Safiol, Award Committee Chairman, who detailed Archon Behrakis’ outstanding accomplishments in business, religion, medicine, philanthropy and heritage, saying, “George is truly a man for all seasons and we salute him, his wife Margo and his entire family.”

Drake Behrakis, master of ceremonies, gave insight on his father, outside of his professional accomplishments, as a personal friend to many and as a family man, saying, “It really comes from his heart and we can honestly say that.  Whether it relates to his family, his church, his homeland or the many activities he’s involved with.  The choices he makes, the paths he follows, and the opinions he voices are sincere, honest and respectful.”

After an intermission of dinner and dancing, the remarks of Vice Commander Nicholas J. Bouras, who was unable to attend that evening, were delivered: “Although I prefer the honor of being anonymous, I am deeply honored that the Order of Saint Andrew established the Nicholas J. Bouras Award in recognition of my humble service to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our Archdiocese.  I believe that my friend, George D. Behrakis, is worthy of any tribute given him.  Therefore, I am both pleased and flattered that he is the first recipient of this Archon Award recognizing exemplary service and stewardship to our Mother Church.

Humbled by the recognition, Archon Behrakis graciously accepts being the first recipient of the Nicholas J. Bouras Award. (Photo by D. Panagos)

“It is my prayer that the creation of the Bouras Award, which would have been impossible without my respected parents and beloved wife Anna of blessed memory, will serve to perpetuate the tradition of Orthodoxy and Hellenism in this great land. Perpetuating traditions, after all, is not about preserving the ashes, but keeping the flame alive.  I sincerely hope that this Award helps keep the flame alive by passing on the unwaning light of our Faith and the Olympic torch of our heritage for generations to come.”

National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis said, “We have often referred to Archon Nicholas as the Backbone of the Order who has empowered the Archons under the leadership of His Eminence to develop a worldwide strategy seeking the complete religious freedom of our worldwide spiritual father Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, a strategy I might add that seems to be bearing fruit.”

Dr. Limberakis was then joined by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, and members of the Executive Committee, who then presented the Award, saying, “After months of careful deliberation the committee, chaired by Archon George Safiol unanimously recommended Archon Depoutatos George D. Behrakis to be the very first recipient, thereby setting the highest standard and signaling this Award is a very significant recognition by the Archon community, the nobility of Orthodox Christian churchmen.” 

The Commander concluded his remarks by referencing the day’s Epistle reading that was heard in all Orthodox Churches around the world:  It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35) and after reciting that passage he stated, “I know of no one, more worthy of those words of our Lord and Savior, than Nicholas J. Bouras and George D. Behrakis.”

Archon Behrakis addresses over two-hundred attendees at The Metropolitan Club in New York. (Photo by J. Mindala)

Humbled by the recognition, Archon Behrakis graciously accepted saying, “We should all take a page out of Mr. Bouras: his life, his successes.  We all try to exemplify someone.  Nicholas Bouras had the character, the integrity, his Christian faith, his stewardship towards his church was par excellence and really cannot be duplicated.  I truly accept this award on behalf of my wife and my family.”

Metropolitan Methodios commended the generosity of Archon Behrakis, addressing the gathering, saying, “He is always there when the church needs him.  This family is deserving of the love and the respect of all of us that are in this room and hundreds upon hundreds throughout the country and throughout the world, who when they hear the names George and Margo Behrakis, they stop and thank God for them.”

Archbishop Demetrios conveyed the warm wishes and blessings of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, saying, “His All-Holiness is always cognizant and deeply grateful for the tremendous work and assistance offered by the Archons of the United States.”  He concluded the evening by acknowledged the outstanding stewardship and generosity of Archons Bouras and Behrakis to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and its ministries, their contributions towards their local Metropolises and to Hellenism.

Biography of George D. Behrakis

George D. Behrakis, Archon Depoutatos

George has been an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, for 32 years. His service to the Mother Church and its Eparchy in America is as extensive as it is distinguished. He has served as president of his home parish of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Lowell, Massachusetts.  He serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; was vice chairman of Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology; chairman of Leadership 100, a founder of Faith Endowment, and was the force behind the establishment of the of the Saint Methodios Faith and Heritage Center, Metropolis of Boston Camp and Retreat Center in New Hampshire.

Archon George was essential in coordinating the arrangements for President Mikhail Gorbachev receiving the 2005 Athenagoras Human Rights Award in his capacity as a founding director of the Gorbachev Foundation of North America.  Archon George has continuously answered the call for Archon Stewardship of his Time, Talent and Treasure putting into action the words of our Lord, Savior and God in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In the business world, Archon George Chairman of Gainsborough Investments, has distinguished himself in the pharmaceutical industry as a researcher and marketer of asthma and allergy products and is the founder of successful companies: Dooner Laboratories and Muro Pharmaceutical, Inc.

Among George’s generous gifts, his philanthropy includes The George D. and Margo Behrakis $25 million Wing for Greek and Roman Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and  the George D. Behrakis Chair in the Field of Targeted Pharmaceuticals at Northeastern University.

He has funded the George D. Behrakis Hellenic Fellowship in Respiratory Allergy at the John Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center. He has also established the Behrakis Fellowship in cardiovascular research supporting Greek physicians from Greece at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Archon George and his wife Margo of fifty years, reside in North Tewksbury, Massachusetts. The couple has four married children, Drake married to Maria, Joanna married to Peter, Stephanie married to Thanasi, and Elena married to David, and nine grandchildren: George, Zoe, and Demetri; Christian and Marissa; Margo and Constantine; and Sebastian and Kaliope.

About the Nicholas J. Bouras Award

Nicholas J. Bouras, Archon Depoutatos

The National Council of the Order of Saint Andrew unanimously voted in 2010 to establish the Nicholas J. Bouras Award.  The Award will be presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary and incomparable stewardship to the Order, enabling Archons to vigorously pursue securing religious freedom for the Mother Church of Constantinople.  The Award is named after National Vice Commander Nicholas J. Bouras, Archon Depoutatos, who himself has demonstrated remarkable leadership as a faithful son of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and exemplary steward of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Churchman, World War II hero, devoted husband of his beloved late wife Anna, Philanthropist, sincere Christian, Archon par excellence and Industrialist are terms that have all described the life of Nicholas J. Bouras.