As the Annual Archon Weekend was held from October 19 to 22, 2023 at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City, Archon leaders conferred in various meetings to deliberate on key issues facing the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
On Thursday, October 19, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation Board of Trustees met at a breakfast meeting. After an invocation and opening remarks from His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, the Epistle and Gospel of the day were read. The Trustees then heard and discussed reports from Treasurer Chris E. Tsamutalis, CPA, and Andreas D. Comodromos, CPA, Assistant Treasurer; Carl R. Hollister of the Audit Committee; Aphrodite Skeadas and Maria Allwin with Archon John J. Mindala II of the Communications Committee; and Markos K. Lagos, Joseph J. Kokolakis, Esq and Michael P. Neamonitakis of the New Members Committee. The Foundation’s role in various events of Archon Weekend was discussed, as well as the special recognition that should be accord to FOUNDERs when they fulfill their $100,000 pledge.
That same day, Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Archon Engagement Committees were joined by National Council and Regional Commanders at a luncheon meeting. Once again His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos offered an invocation and opening remarks, followed by the Epistle and Gospel readings. Then Archon Stephen A. Georgeson, Esq., the Chair of the Engagement Committee, along with Archons Nicholas G. Loutsion, VMD, Rocky Sisson and John Manos, Vice Chairs, presented a report on the Archon Engagement Committees, noting that there are now approximately four hundred Archons fully engaged in eleven Engagement Committees.
The following day, Archon National Council and Regional Commanders held a joint luncheon meeting. Here again, the meeting began with an invocation and opening remarks from His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, followed by the Epistle and Holy Gospel lessons. National Treasurer Peter J. Skeadas and National Assistant Treasurer Andreas D. Comodromos, CPA presented a treasurer’s report. Archon Dr. Nicholas G. Loutsion, VMD and Archon John G. Manos reported from the Regional Commanders Liaison Committee. It was decided that Regional Commanders should promote the important work of the Ecumenical Patriarch Barthomew Foundation and become FOUNDERS themselves. The upcoming (November 5) Nameday celebration of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros was discussed, with the presentation of options for showing support.
The Annual Meeting Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a Joint Assembly of Archons, Archons-elect and Spouses, was held on Saturday in the Trianon Ballroom. After an invocation and opening remarks from His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, Archon Anthony J. Limberakis, MD, the National Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, welcomed the attendees and read the Patriarchal Exhortation from His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Archon Hon. B. Theodore Bozonelis, Jr., National Vice Commander, then read the Archiepiscopal Exhortation from His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America. Dr. Limberakis introduced the National Council and Regional Commanders, welcoming the new Regional Commanders, Archons James D. Speros and Constantine Sideridis of the Metropolis of Boston and Archon Jimmy Frangis of the Metropolis of Atlanta.
The Treasurer's Report of Archon Peter J. Skeadas, National Treasurer and National Assistant Treasurer Andreas D. Comodromos, CPA was approved. Then followed the presentation and approval of the Audited Financial Report for 2021, and the Audit Committee Report of Archon Peter Kakoyiannis, Esq. The report of the independent audit firm BDO USA, LLP was also presented, and the Archons were given an update on the insurance coverage of the Order.
Then followed the presentation of Archon Class of 2023 by Archon Constantine G. Caras, Esq. Archon John Zavitsanos, Esq. presented an update on the Exarch’s Appeal. Archons Michael G. Psaros and Alexander Pritsos explained why the recipient of this year’s Athenagoras Human Rights Award, The Prince’s Trust, was chosen. It was announced that a portion of this year’s sponsorship and ticket funds net of expenses will be restricted for the sole use of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation. The Archons expressed their deep gratitude to the banquet underwriters who donated at least $100,000 to make the Athenagoras Human Rights Award banquet possible: the Anna K. and Nicholas J. Bouras Foundation (each year since 1998!), and Archon Michael G. and Robin Psaros (each year since 2016!).
There followed discussion of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation and the makeup of the National Council. Archon Hon. B. Theodore Bozonelis and Archon Kosmas (Gus) M. Pablecas of the Bylaws Committee discussed proposed changes in the bylaws. Archon Rocky Sisson gave a report on the work of the Communications Committee, and Archon John G. Gumas offered a special presentation on the Archon Branding Initiative.
Archon John A. Catsimatidis discussed the Archon Religious Freedom initiatives, and Archon Bozonelis, along with Archon George C. Rockas, Esq. and Archon Constantine Sideridis gave the details of the International Religious Freedom Conference, co-Sponsored by the Order of St. Andrew and Archons Pammakaristos of Europe, which is planned to take place in Athens, Greece from May 26 to 30, 2024. This will be the first Global Summit of Archons from Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States. Special acknowledgement was given to Archon Spiritual Advisor Father Alex and Presvytera Xanthi for helping make this a reality.
Many of the significant events of 2023 were recalled and discussed, including the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in Pyrgos, Greece on September 3. Father Alex was the single celebrant with His All-Holiness presiding in Chorostasia at the Episcopal Throne; this was a very moving tribute to Father Alex. His All-Holiness also made a surprise special recognition of Dr. Limberakis, conferring a special honor upon him with the Offikion of Megas Aktouarios. Archondissa Dr. Maria A. Limberakis recognized for her devotion to the Holy Mother Church with an ecclesiastical holy water vessel presented to her by His All-Holiness himself.
Archon Rocky Sisson and Archon Hon. Steve G. Counelis gave a report about their work at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Human Rights Meetings in Warsaw, Poland in early October. Archon Andrew E. Manatos provided an update on the Washington Initiative. Archon Peter J. Skeadas, Chair and Archon Michael G. Psaros, Co-Chair of the Archon Spirituality Committee, announced that the Annual Archon Retreat would be held Friday, April 19, 2024 through Saturday, April 20, 2024 at Dormition Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons, New York. Retreat leaders would be Father Nicholas and Presvytera Dr. Roxanne Louh, with the theme “Renewing Your Marriage.”
Archons Dr. Nicholas Loutsion and Archon Rocky Sisson, Co-Chair offered a report on the Archon Engagement Committees, noting as one of many highlights the Pilgrimage of Discovery Pilot Program to Constantinople, organized by the Archons in the Chicago Metropolis. Then followed a report on the Regional Commanders Liaison Committee from Archon Nicholas G. Loutsion, VMD, Chair and Archon John G. Manos, Vice Chair.
Crowning the meeting was the richly deserved recognition of National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, together with his wife, Dr. Maria, for his 25 years of tireless and selfless service as National Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco offered the Trisagion for departed Archons as Archons who departed from this life between January and September 2022 were remembered. His Eminence then gave the closing benediction.