The Athenagoras Human Rights Award

The History Behind The Award

In 1986 the National Council of the Order of St. Andrew/Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America established The Athenagoras Human Rights Award. The Award is presented every year at the Annual Banquet of the Order to a person or organization, which has consistently exemplified by action, purpose and dedication, concern for the basic rights and religious freedom of all people.

The Award was named after one of the Great Church Leaders of the 20th Century, the late Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras I.

Athenagoras was born on March 25, 1886, in the small village Vassilikon in the district Pogonion, a province of Epirus in north western Greece. He rose through the clerical ranks and served as Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America from 1931 to 1948. On November 1, 1948, he was elected to the high office of Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople by the Holy Synod of the most venerable Orthodox See.

In his capacities, as Archbishop and then as Ecumenical Patriarch, he cultivated a new era of recognition and prestige for the Orthodox Christian Church on an international and ecumenical level. Having established closer contacts with sister churches of Orthodoxy, with leaders of other Christian Churches and with other Faiths and denominations, his name became synonymous with love for all peoples of the earth. He lived to see the Church of Constantinople almost totally destroyed September 1955 during the pogrom and anti-Greek riots by the Turkish mobs. He was the first Ecumenical Patriarch to open the road for a dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church after the schism of 1054 between the two Churches. He met Pope Paul VI on January 4-5, 1964 in Jerusalem, to reconcile and pray together for peace, love and respect between the two Apostolic Churches.

2017
Emilia Kamvisi and Efstratios Valamios

Representing the fishermen of Lesbos and the Greek Islands

2016
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of the State of New York

2015
Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President of the United States of America

2014
Jay Alan Sekulow, PhD, JD

Chief Counsel
American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)
European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ)

2013
60 Minutes

Jeff Fager, President and CEO accepting on behalf of 60 Minutes

2012
Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Andreas Dracopoulos, Director & Co-President accepting on behalf of the Foundation

2011
Admiral James G. Stavridis

Supreme Allied Commander Europe accepting on behalf of the heroic U.S. Armed Forces

2009
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD

National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew

2008
Rabbi Arthur Schneier

Founder and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation

2007
Archbishop Demetrios of America

Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch

2006
Mr. Nicholas J. Bouras

World War II Hero, Industrialist, Philanthropist and Great Churchman

2005
Mikhail Gorbachev

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of the Soviet Union

2004
Mr. Alex G. Spanos

Extraordinary Humanitarian Philanthropist, Human Rights Advocate and Defender of the Faith

2003
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)
Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC)

Agencies of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA)

2002
President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush

41st President of the United States of America and First Lady

2001
Archbishop Anastasios of Albania

Archbishop of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania

2000
Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

1999
Elie Wiesel

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
University Professor and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities

1998
Nana Mouskouri

World renowned Singer
Dedicated herself to children as UNICEF Ambassador and Europarliamentarian

1997
Reverend Clergy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

The Clergy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

1996
Order of AHEPA

American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association

1995
Hon. Edward Derwinski

1st United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Member of the U.S. House of Representatives

1994
Hon. Paul S. Sarbanes

Former United States Senator of the State of Maryland

1993
George Douris

New York Public Relations Executive

1992
Ladies Philoptochos

Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society

1991
Andrew A. Athens

Business and Civic Leader

1990
Hon. John Brademas

President Emeritus of New York University

1989
Anthony G. Borden, MD

Radiologist and Former National Commander of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle

1988
Mother Theresa

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Humanitarian and Advocate for the Poor and Helpless

1987
President Jimmy Carter

39th President of the United States of America

1986
Archbishop Iakovos

Former Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America