With the blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, an Archon Delegation arrived in Berlin, Germany to begin detailed advance work in the planning of the second International Archon Religious Freedom Conference scheduled for November 2013. The Archon team will then travel to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to receive the blessings of His All-Holiness Bartholomew. They will then meet with patriarchal lawyers concerning the return of confiscated properties, have discussions with Archon Laki Vingas, the official government representative of the religious minority foundations in Turkey, as well as members of the various religious minorities of Turkey. Finally, they will visit Ankara to meet with government officials to discuss ongoing religious freedom concerns and the reopening of Halki Seminary, forcibly shut down in 1971 by Turkish authorities.
Embassy Ankara, headed by U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Hon. Francis Ricciardone, once again is fully supportive of our mission seeking religious freedom in Turkey for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as all religious minorities in Turkey. The meetings in Ankara are in formation and at this time include discussions with Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arins.
In Germany the Archon Delegation is scheduled to meet with U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Hon. Phillip Murphy; Member of Parliament Cem Özdemir; Heike MacKerron a Senior Director of the German Marshall Fund and German religious leaders and diplomats representing Greece, Cyprus and Turkey in Germany. The meetings in Germany are being facilitated by Archon William Antholis and His Eminence Augoustinos, Metropolitan of Germany.
Spiritual Advisor Fr. Alexander Karloutsos is accompanying the Archon team consisting of National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis; Religious Freedom Conference Chairman George C. Rockas and Archon Patriarchal Properties Committee Chairman Judge B. Theodore Bozonelis.
National Commander Limberakis will be posting daily updates via Twitter following the delegation's meetings. All Archons and interested persons who are connected to this social networking tool can log onto twitter.com/OrderStAndrew and become a follower, or visit archons.org and click on the "Social Networking" tab below the homepage image to read these updates as they occur.
Coverage on this religious freedom mission will be available in the coming weeks on www.archons.org and in the next issue of The Archon newsletter.