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Archon Leaders Meet with Undersecretary of State Burns and Others

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 23, 2007 - Religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and America's strategic agenda to secure it were discussed in a meeting with Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns on February 21, 2007. He is the third-ranking official in the U.S. State Department. These issues were discussed with Archon National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, Archon and dean of the Greek-American community Andrew A. Athens, the Archon Regional Commander and Archons who coordinate Washington, D.C. efforts for the crisis facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos, respectively, and Archon spiritual advisor Father Alexander Karloutsos.

During this meeting, the Undersecretary was also briefed about the discriminatory treatment of the Order of Saint Andrew in Turkey during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarchate November 29 - December 1of 2006. As a follow-up to that meeting, and as part of the ongoing effort for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, parts of this group also held meetings with other key State Department officials involved in the oversight and day-to-day American efforts on this subject.

Undersecretary Burns and the Archons agreed on the extraordinary degree of the crisis facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and on the importance of this crisis to America. They agreed as well on the importance of America supporting Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, one of the world's preeminent spiritual leaders and peacemakers. As well, there was agreement on the course of action that can be most productive and the importance of the Order keeping in close touch with European Union leaders and American officials handling this matter.