By Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, together with Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, presented the Athenagoras Human Rights Award to the Prince’s Trust. With the blessing of His Majesty King Charles III, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Pavlos, Vice President of Prince’s Trust International and the eldest son of King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, accepted the Award on behalf of the Prince’s Trust on Saturday, October 21, 2023, during the annual Athenagoras Human Rights Award Banquet held at the New York Hilton Hotel with over 600 Archons and guests in attendance.
His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in a message commemorating the occasion, stated: “In recognizing the Prince’s Trust with the Athenagoras Human Rights Award, we acknowledge the profound impact this organization has made in fostering a more just and inclusive society. This award underscores the vital role that organizations like the Prince’s Trust play in ensuring that the fundamental rights and dignity of all individuals are upheld.”
In a similar vein, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros praised the Prince’s Trust International, which, he said, “has had multiple impacts throughout the globe, and especially in Greece during the economic troubles of the last decade. With a reach that is as wide as it is inclusive, this labor of love and investment in the future has truly brought positive influences into the lives of young people, and shared with them opportunities for enhanced lives.”
In a letter from Buckingham Palace that was read at the Award Banquet by the Chief Executive Officer of Prince’s Trust International, Will Straw, His Majesty King Charles said: “I cannot tell you how sorry I am not to be with you in person on this occasion for the celebration of The Prince’s Trust’s work, but I am enormously grateful to you all for taking the time to attend this event. I am particularly delighted that His Royal Highness Crown Prince Pavlos, Vice President of Prince’s Trust International, has agreed to receive the Athenagoras Human Rights Award this evening. I really am so pleased that The Trust’s work continues to go from strength to strength, having, in recent years, expanded from its mission in the United Kingdom and now to be supporting young people in twenty-three countries, including Greece and the United States of America where we recently launched our Enterprise Challenge programme in New York and Chicago.”
At the Award Banquet, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Pavlos stated: “Ι am honoured to accept the 2023 Athenagoras Human Rights Award on behalf our President, His Majesty King Charles, for the work of The Prince’s Trust International in Greece and around the world. I am also honoured to accept an award for Human Rights, which is named after one of the great Church leaders of the 20th Century, the late Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras I.” His Royal Highness added: “During these times when our world is being tested by major threats, it is now more imperative than ever to support our society and stand by our youth in every possible way. The right to work is a human right, enshrined in the UN’s universal declaration. Every young person deserves the chance to be employed or start their own business as an entrepreneur. It makes life worth living and our mission at The Prince’s Trust is to empower young people to build their own future.”
Archon National Commander Limberakis noted that “The Prince’s Trust is a shining example of the Christian Faith put into practice, with innovative and effective programs that have helped over a million young people turn their lives around. Indeed, His Majesty King Charles III has a profound understanding of the scriptural admonition to love your neighbor as yourself, and in The Prince’s Trust, he has brilliantly demonstrated the meaning and importance of that divine command. The Trust thus richly deserves to receive the 2023 Athenagoras Human Rights Award.”
Prince’s Trust International Chief Executive Officer Will Straw made a noteworthy announcement: “None of our work in Greece would have been possible without the generous support of our Founding Principal Benefactors, Dean and Marianne Metropoulos, the most esteemed title of recognition within the Prince’s Trust International family of supporters. In light of receiving the incredible Athenagoras Human Rights Award, we are delighted to announce the creation of the Prince’s Trust’s Bartholomew Patrons, to thank individuals who pledge $100,000 or more to support our work in the year of His Majesty’s Coronation. This, of course, pays tribute to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the esteemed Archbishop of Constantinople. We have ambitions to raise at least $1 million through our Bartholomew Patrons to give young people the chance to succeed. Alongside their extraordinary commitment as Founding Principal Benefactors, we are also delighted to recognise Dean and Marianne Metropoulos as honouree Bartholomew Patrons. They are joined by John Catsimatidis, Corinne Mentzelopoulos, Kostas Pantazopoulos and Vivi Galani, as founding members. We have ambitions to raise at least $1 million through our Bartholomew Patrons to give young people the chance to succeed.”
The Dais Guests were introduced by Michael G. Psaros, Archon Ostiarios, the 2022 recipient of the Nicholas J. Bouras Award for Extraordinary Archon Stewardship. Singing the National Anthems were Serena Pantazopoulos, accompanied by Noreen Cassidy-Polera. His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros offered the Invocation, after which the National Vice Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Honorable B. Theodore Bozonelis, Archon Ekdikos, welcomed the attendees. The Master of Ceremonies was Mike Emanuel, Archon Hypomnematografos, a prominent national correspondent on Fox News.
Cappella Romana, the Byzantine Chant Ensemble that made headlines around the world chanting at the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, offered a musical tribute.
After dinner, Peter J. Skeadas, Archon Hieromnimon, National Treasurer of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, presented the Archon Class of 2023. Dr. Limberakis offered a tribute to the Prince’s Trust, and following a video tribute, the award was presented. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Pavlos then offered a response, followed by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros’ Archiepiscopal Exhortation and Benediction.
Established in 1986, the Athenagoras Human Rights Award is given in honor of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, who served as Archbishop of the Americas for 18 years before being elected Ecumenical Patriarch in 1948. He was universally acknowledged as a visionary leader and worked for peace among Churches and people throughout his life. Previous recipients include His Beatitude Theodore II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa; His Beatitude Epiphaniy, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine; President Joseph Biden (when he was vice president); former President Jimmy Carter; former President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush; Nobel Laureate and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel; Mother Theresa of Calcutta; and the scientists who developed COVID vaccines and treatments.