Since 2005, the Order has sent a delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meetings, the largest human rights gathering in Europe to present the violations of human rights and religious freedom asphyxiating the Ecumenical Patriarchate perpetrated by the Republic of Turkey. Archons Constantine G. Caras, Esq. and Dr. Stamatios V. Kartalopoulos represented the Order at this year's 2016 OSCE Conference in Warsaw, Poland. Archons Caras and Kartalopoulos had a private meeting with the State Department delegation of the United States and provided them with the most current information regarding the status of our Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey, the major issues of which we are all aware, the most recent developments and current documents of the Order.
At the Discrimination Session of the OSCE, Archon Caras presented his paper outlining the discrimination faced on a daily basis by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. On the following day, Archon Kartalopoulos presented his paper at the Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion and Belief Session.
The Turkish Ambassador to the OSCE, present for both sessions, replied to both Archons at the conclusion of their remarks.
Archons Caras and Kartalopoulos also met with the Constantinopolitan Society representative, Eirini Stefanou, who fully supported and reiterated the concerns of the Order in her own remarks. They also met with the diplomatic delegation headed by Ambassador Kastanas from Greece and conveyed the Order's concerns for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
This year, for the first time, the Philoptochos Society also attended the OSCE and spoke in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and specifically in support of the Order of St. Andrew and the "Five Issues" which the Order advances. The Philoptochos was represented by its national legal advisor, Anita Kartalopoulos.
The OSCE is the world's largest such organization whose 57 international members and 11 partner states address issues relating to security and cooperation in all areas of society worldwide. Over 2,000 international delegates participated in the conference which took place in September, 2016.