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Speeches and Addresses

Remarks and Introduction of Archbishop Elpidophoros at Athenagoras Human Rights Award Dinner Honoring Dr. Albert Bourla, Dr. Ugur Sahin, and Dr. George D. Yancopoulos

© GOA / D. Panagos

The Hilton Hotel 
New York, New York 
(October 30, 2021) 

* * * 

Your All-Holiness, 
Your Eminences and Your Graces, 
Secretary Azar, 
Esteemed Honorees, 
Beloved Archons, 
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

This is truly a celebratory evening; for we gather at the invitation of the Archons of the Holy Great Church of Christ. Tonight, we honor our spiritual father, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, as he commemorates the historic milestone of thirty years upon the See of Saint Andrew — the very patron of this esteemed Order of Archons.  

We gather in the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch — and in the name of another saintly and righteous Patriarch — so that we may celebrate the conferral of this esteemed Order’s highest dignity, the Athenagoras Human Rights Award, on this evening’s honorees: Albert Bourla, George D. Yancopoulos, Christos Kyratsous, Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci. 

Even as we recognize the achievements of these distinguished scientists, we hold forth hope for a world where the balance and harmony of nature is respected. We hold forth hope for a world where disease and sickness are met with compassion, mercy and the therapies that our esteemed honorees have developed. We hold forth hope for a world where οἰκολογία — ecology — means the reasonable and logical stewardship of this one planet that houses all of the human family. And no spiritual leader has done more for these hopes than Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. 

Uniting faith and science in a holy marriage, His All-Holiness urges all of us to aspire to a γνῶσις that is based in the goodness of creation; for the God Who created the universe beheld it as “very good.”1 He teaches us to acknowledge our errors and points us in a new path, leading to stewardship, rather than exploitation. And his example is always based in the love of God and the love of our neighbors. 

We could have no finer, wiser or more eloquent Teacher and Father in Christ. 

And so, please rise for the spiritual father of Orthodoxy throughout the oikoumene, and the father in Christ of our Sacred Archdiocese, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.