The Pilgrimage of Discovery (POD), a 2023 Pilot Program of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate involving an all-expenses paid trip to Constantinople and an audience with His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, inaugurated its Alumni Leadership Network (ALN) presentations on Sunday, September 24 at St. Mary's Cathedral in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The ALN is the next step of the Pilgrimage of Discovery, which was orchestrated through the Metropolis of Chicago. Following each POD, as part of the eligibility requirements for participation in the program, the young adult participants begin an Archon ambassadorship by presenting their POD experience at their home parish, accompanied by local Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The first Archon ambassador is Deanna Kolas, a parishioner of St. Mary's. She was joined by Regional Commander Archon John Manos from the Metropolis of Chicago to offer a presentation on the five key issues facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate, followed by a PowerPoint that included photos, as well as a discussion of what the POD was and how it has influenced her life.
The audience felt Ms. Kolas' passion and emotions as she discussed her feelings when meeting His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and visiting the holy sites of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Many questions followed from the parishioners who were in attendance, and the discussion left everyone wanting to learn more. George Valcarcel, another young adult who participated in the POD, flew in from Chicago to lend his moral support. Also in attendance were Archon Bill Spell and visiting Archon Paul Skoutelas from Washington D.C.
The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate thank Fr. Tim Sas and Fr. Luke Twito for welcoming the Archons and the POD presentation to their parish, and commend Ms. Kolas for being the first to assume her leadership role, as well as for making such an inspiring presentation.