In a ceremony at the White House on Thursday, July 7, 2022, the beloved spiritual advisor of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Rev. Protopresbyter Alexander M. Karloutsos, affectionately known worldwide as “Father Alex,” received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Joseph Biden. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. Fr. Alex and Presvytera Xanthi, two faithful servants of our Lord and Savior, hand in hand, of like mind and purpose have devoted their lives to promoting the wellbeing and vitality of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Church-at-large, and so many noble causes with great impact and substantive accomplishment.
According to a statement released by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received the news of this extraordinary honor “with great joy and paternal pride.” His All-Holiness contacted Father Alex “and warmly congratulated him, as well as his blessed family, adding that this high honor reflects on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, of which Father Alexander was and is a worthy cleric, and imparting to him by Patriarchal pleasure his paternal good wishes and blessing.”
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America stated: “I am so very happy for Father Alex, Presvytera Xanthi, and their children and grandchildren. This is such an exceptional distinction that it practically leaves me speechless. That a son of the Church, the son of a priest, born in Greece and humbly serving His Church for over fifty years is to be recognized by the highest civilian honor of the United States, is a moment in which every Greek Orthodox and every Greek American should take tremendous pride, especially in this week when we celebrate the Centennial of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. This is a unique honor for Father Alex, whose decades of ministry in our Archdiocese and the Ecumenical Patriarchate cannot be summed up with any amount of words. Rather, I know that we all send him our warmest and most heartfelt congratulations, with our acknowledgment of this profound recognition by the President of the United States. ΑΞΙΟΣ!”
“As a brother PK (priest’s kid),” said Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, “I take special pride in the bestowal of this honor upon Father Alex, and am delighted that he is now receiving national and international recognition for his tireless labor for God and His Church. Among the Archons, we have known for decades what a treasure Father Alex is, and now the whole world will know.
According to the White House, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is “the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.”
President Biden noted that “America can be defined by one word: possibilities,” adding that the recipients of the award “demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance, and faith. They have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities – and across the world – while blazing trails for generations to come.”