GOAA ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS RECEIVES HIGHEST HONOR OF HELLENIC REPUBLIC
- GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA
8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY 10075-0106
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2008
Contact: Stavros H. Papagermanos
Tel.: 212.570.3556 – Fax: 212.774.0237
ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS RECEIVES THE HIGHEST HONOR OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC MEETS WITH PRIME MINISTER KOSTAS KARAMANLIS AND KEY MINISTERS OF THE GREEK GOVERNMENT
ATHENS – The President of the Hellenic Repuublic Mr. Karolos Papoulias bestowed upon His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America the Great Cross of the Order of the Phoenix, the highest honorary distinction of the Hellenic Republic. The presentation took place during the Archbishopâ€™s visit to the Presidential Palace, July 1, and his meeting with President Papoulias.
â€œThe presentation of this medal is the least we can do in appreciation of the work you are doing for Hellenism in America,â€ said Mr. Papoulias.
â€œThe Cross and the resurrected phoenix are symbols for the Omogeneia,â€ the Archbishop said in his response. In the meeting that followed His Eminence and Mr. Papoulias talked about the important work of the Church in America and the progress of the Omogeneia.
Later in the day the Archbishop met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Mr. Theodore Kassimis, who is in charge of issues relating to Greeks abroad, and discussed many issues related to education and youth programs. â€œWe discussed ways of increasing the number of young people who can come and stay at the camp of the Archdiocese in Peloponissos, the Ionian Village. We also explored many other issues regarding Greek Education in the schools,â€ Mr. Kassimis said in his comments afterwards.
The same evening the Archbishop presided at the Opening Ceremony of the AHEPA Convention, which is being held in Athens this year.
The next day July 2, Archbishop Demetrios met with the Prime Minister of Greece Kostas Karamanlis, in his office at Megaron Maximou. The meeting, which lasted approximately 40 minutes and was cordial and productive, revolved around issues of mutual concern for the Greek government and the Greek Orthodox Church in America. The Archbishop was accompanied by the Vice-Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Mr. Michael Jaharis.
A little earlier His Eminence was welcomed by the President of the Hellenic Parliament Mr. Dimitris Sioufas who bestowed upon the Archbishop the highest honor of the legislative body, the Gold Medal of the Hellenic Parliament, which bears a representation of the head of Pericles, the founder of the Athenian Democracy.
â€œWe are honoring you on the occasion of your visit to the Hellenic Parliament for all you have contributed and will continue to contribute to the Church, the Omogeneia and Hellenism, for all you have done for the educational and cultural advancement of the ideals of Hellenism in America; we honor your work and we wholeheartedly support it. Be assured that the Hellenic Parliament will always stand by your side,â€ said Mr. Sioufas during the short ceremony. The Archbishop thanked Mr. Sioufas and the parliamentary body for the honor and for their steadfast support, both now and in the past.
At noon His Eminence visited the Minister of Economy and Finance Mr. George Alogoskoufis and had an hour long fruitful meeting with him and his team. Ways of realizing plans and proposals of interest to both parties were discussed, especially as they relate to the promotion of Hellenic civilization, Greek language and youth programs and particularly that of Ionian Village and its development.
The same afternoon Archbishop Demetrios paid a visit to the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and had a long and productive meeting with the Minister of Education Mr. Evripides Stylianidis. The meeting was held in a very cordial and straightforward atmosphere and was a continuation of their first meeting in New York, last April. All the issues of concern were reviewed and progress was reported on both sides.
Following the meting Mr. Stylianidis thanked His Eminence and his team for the work and the cooperation under way, in the issues of Hellenic Education and language in the United States. â€œI feel we have entered a new era of cooperation from which we will all benefit,â€ he said at the conclusion of the meeting.
Archbishop Demetrios, responding to a question about the meeting, said that he was pleased to see measurable progress and the application of an old Greek saying which translates in English as â€œthe sooner the better.â€ And he added:
â€œMeetings of this kind offer hope and joy for the advancement and strengthening of the ideals of Hellenism and Orthodoxy.â€
Today Archbishop Demetrios visited with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Dora Bakoyannis and later hosted a luncheon for directors of Athens newspapers and other media organizations.
In the evening the Archdiocesan Youth Choir, which the Archbishop founded in 2000 in New York, gave an exquisite concert performance at the Zappeion Megaron. The concert which was offered for the benefit of the philanthropic organization ELPIDA, Foundation for the Child and the Family, was attended by many distinguished personalities of Athens including Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyannis, Minister of Employment and Social Protection Fanny Palli Petralia and Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Protection Sophia Kalantzakos.
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