Dear Brother Archons and Friends of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
As Thanksgiving Day 2023 approaches tomorrow, we thank our Almighty and loving God above all, for the inspiring leadership of our worldwide Spiritual Father, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and for the wisdom he continues to bestow upon Orthodox Christians worldwide from our Holy Mother Church of Constantinople.
His All-Holiness’ vision was on abundant display at our recently concluded Archon Weekend 2023. In accord with our beloved Ecumenical Patriarch’s exhortation to recognize “those who exemplify the spirit of service, compassion, and unwavering commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights,” we honored The Prince’s Trust (now renamed the King's Trust), an international youth charity that was founded by His Majesty King Charles III while The Prince of Wales in 1976, with the Athenagoras Human Rights Award. During Archon Weekend, we also welcomed 39 new Archons to our common struggle to defend the religious freedom of our Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Beyond the triumph of Archon Weekend, it has been a busy and productive year. We completed the first stage of our Archon Strategic Branding Initiative, which we have already begun implementing in order to make our message of protection of our Ecumenical Patriarchate and religious freedom as clear and easy to grasp as possible. Our Engagement Committees are now in full swing, making presentations and raising awareness about our Mother Church and other key issues all over the country; four hundred Archons are now fully engaged in eleven Engagement Committees.
We also saw the successful completion of our Pilgrimage of Discovery Pilot Program, in which five young adults and future leaders of our Church traveled to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, met with His All-Holiness and witnessed firsthand the historic, canonical and ecclesiastical significance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This pilot program was such a resounding success that plans are now underway to continue this initiative.
Looking ahead to the coming year, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Foundation continues to grow, and will expand overseas in 2024. We have also received the blessings of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew regarding the organization of our Fourth International Archon Conference, Protecting Religious Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights, which is scheduled for May 26-28, 2024; and the first Global Summit of Archons, which will be held on May 29, 2024 in Athens, Greece.
As always, we are grateful for the leadership and wisdom of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, as well as by that of Their Eminences the Metropolitans of the Eparchial Synod, and of our spiritual advisor, Father Alex Karloutsos. We thank God also for the dedicated parish priests and their presvyteres who keep our holy Church alive and growing in America.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I wish also to express the profoundest gratitude to our beloved wives and families. Being an Archon is a commitment of service not just to our God and His Church, but to our families, without whom we could not stand as Defenders of the Faith, determined to protect and defend our Holy Mother Church of Constantinople.
My family, my own support and mainstay, joins me in thanking each of you and your families for your service to our sacred work. Maria and I wish you and your beloved families the most joyful, and peaceful of Thanksgiving Days, and then on November 30, a most blessed Feastday of Saint Andrew the First-Called Apostle, the patron of our Order.
In faithful service to our Holy Mother Church,
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD
Archon Megas Aktouarios