AHEPA Chapter #98, the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, the Hellenic Bar Association of Connecticut and St. Barbara’s Church sponsored an educational forum on the Patriarchate on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, of Orange, Connecticut.
The main focus of the lecture was the Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Enthronement of His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew, in particular his significant accomplishments of a quarter-century of leadership amongst the worldwide Orthodox faithful, despite the denials of religious freedom under which the Patriarchate is forced to operate.
Professor Evangelos Hadjimichael, President of AHEPA Chapter #98, provided introductory and closing remarks, AHEPA Past Supreme Counselor, Archon and President of the HBA, Gregory J. Stamos, served as moderator, and Father Peter Orfanakos of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church offered the invocation and closing prayer.
Nikoforos Mathews, AHEPAN and the Regional Commander of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, provided the context of Patriarch Bartholomew’s significant accomplishments by giving an overview of the five (5) facets of the denials of religious freedom under which the Patriarchate operates. Professor George Demacopoulos, PhD, the Historian of the Archons and the Founder and Co-Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, New York City, then highlighted the significant accomplishments of what he termed the transformative quarter-century of leadership of Patriarch Bartholomew, focusing on three (3) aspects in particular: Intra-Orthodox conciliation, as symbolized by the Great and Holy Council in Crete in the summer of the 2016; Intra-Christian dialogue; and in particular, the world-wide leadership of His All-Holiness in environmental preservation.
A lively and informative questions and answer session followed, and the uniform consensus of the audience was that all left with a much stronger appreciation of the issues relating to the Patriarchate, the denials of Religious Freedom, and the significance of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew’s tenure as leader of the Orthodox faith.
This presentation was the latest in a series of sponsored lectures and educational forums by Chapter #98 relating to issues affecting the Greek diaspora, such as the Greek economy; and issues of social importance, such as the Plight of the Christian Minority in the Middle East and the Syrian Refugee crisis.