Archons Brief Key US Policymakers
Washington D.C. – Leaders of the Order of St. Andrew — Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate this week held meetings in Washington, DC with top US policymakers to discuss recent developments regarding the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In meetings with policymakers at the White House, US Congress, State Department and elsewhere, matters discussed included the alarming recent conversion of two ancient Churches in Turkey named St. Sophia to mosques and threats, including by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, to convert the historic and internationally revered Christian symbol Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, into a mosque. Also discussed was the decades-long forcible closure of Halki Seminary, as well as Turkey’s recent reversing of the slight movement it had made in the direction of religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other religious minorities.
The senior policymakers with whom they met included the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY, respectively; Senior Counselor to President Barack Obama, John Podesta; Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, Victoria Nuland; National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan; US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chief Council and Deputy Staff Director for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and the Senior Foreign Policy Advisor for the Ranking Republican on that Committee Bob Corker (R-TN), Jodi Herman and Caleb McCarry; four Commissioners of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), including its Chairman Dr. Robert C. George, Vice Chairs Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser; Commissioner Dr. James J. Zogby, along with Commission staff Knox Thames and Sahar Chaudhry. They also met with Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States Serder Kilic.
The Archon delegation included Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander; Father Alexander Karloutsos, Spiritual Advisor; Andy Manatos, Regional Commander; and Archon Mike Manatos.
Photo 1: Archon Mike Manatos, National Commander Anthony J. Limberakis, M.D., John Podesta, Counselor to the President of the United States, Father Alexander Karloutsos, and Archon Andrew E. Manatos, at the White House.
Photo 2: Archons with Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce at the Rayburn House Office Building.