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Archbishop Demetrios of America Received Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras

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  • Aug 12, 2013

    NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America welcomed the Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras, Friday, Aug. 9 at the Headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Michael Jaharis, the vice-chairman of the Archdiocesan Council also attended the meeting, while the Prime Minister was accompanied by Ambassador of  Greece to the United States Mr. Christos Panagopoulos, the head of the diplomatic cabinet of the Prime Minister Ambassador Stavros Vassilopoulos, the Permanent Representative of Greece to the U.N. Ambassador Michael Spinellis,  the director of the Prime Minister’s press office Mr. Georgios Mouroutis, the director for strategic planning  Mr. Dimitrios Ptochos and the Consul General of Greece in New York Mr. George Iliopoulos.


    The discussion included the meeting of Mr. Samaras with President Obama, which took place  Aug. 8 at the White House, and was the reason for the Mr. Samaras’ visit to the U.S. The economic crisis and its effects on the people of Greece, the high unemployment and the prospects for economic recovery and development were also discussed.

    Following the meeting, Prime Minister Samaras, in a statement to the Press said he was deeply moved to be at the Archdiocese and meet with Archbishop Demetrios. “I’d like to tell you that you give us strength and courage. I’d like to tell you that the spiritual nourishment one gets from a visit here is very important. You are [addressing the Archbishop] a wise hierarch and you prove everyday with your actions, your love for Hellenism and your devotion to the values of Hellenism and your faith for the potential Hellenism has; and for that I want to congratulate you on behalf of the people of Greece. We express our gratitude and I am very glad for the honor of being received here today.”

    In his response, Archbishop Demetrios thanked the Prime Minister for the special honor of the Prime Minister’s visit and noted: “It is a blessing that the people of Greece, even as they face many and great challenges and pressures, retain their dignity and have developed a great and strong solidarity amongst themselves. It is a feeling which permeates and touches people in other countries and those who visit Greece, precisely to honor a country, which is not only a place with a seven thousand year history, but a country which, in the modern world, has always been a defender of liberty and human rights.”


    Archbishop Demetrios also said the Greek government under Mr. Samaras is giving a multifaceted fight “and our prayers are always with them.” His Eminence expressed the feelings of solidarity of the Greek Orthodox community in America for the suffering people of Greece and noted in particular the very important role of the Church of Greece, “which under these special conditions has proven to be an exceptional and singular agent of love, a love which is therapeutic and decisively contributes to a substantive recovery.”

    The same afternoon, Prime Minister Samaras and Archbishop Demetrios visited the site at the World Trade Center, where the church of St. Nicholas, which was destroyed on September 11, 2001, will soon be rebuilt. They were welcomed by Patrick J. Foye, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Director for the WTC construction, Steven Plate, who led the tour. The two leaders and their entourage were taken atop the very plot where the Church of St. Nicholas will be rebuilt. His Eminence held a short memorial service for the victims of 9/11. The Greek American Chief of Police of the Port Authority, Louie Koumoutsos, presented the Prime Minister with the American and Greek flags, which were flown on top of the newly completed WTC-1 tower which now dominates the Manhattan skyline. The visit concluded at the nearby 9/11 Memorial.

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