New York, NY - The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, will present Alex G. Spanos, a great humanitarian, philanthropist and leading businessman, with the19th Annual Athenagoras Human Rights Awards at the organization's grand banquet at the New York Hilton Hotel on October 9, 2004.

Alex G. Spanos, the chairman and owner of the A. G. Spanos Companies, is recognized for his devotion to his church and to his fellow human beings. His support of human rights, educational opportunity and a wide variety of civic, educational, athletic, and arts organizations grew dramatically as he transformed a modest business venture into a corporate giant, ranked at the top of the national housing industry.

Always proud of his Greek heritage and devoted to his faith, Spanos has been an active supporter of his church and a major philanthropist to a variety of church, educational, athletic, arts and civic organizations. In 1972, he was elevated to be Archon Depoutatos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for his extraordinary support of the Greek Orthodox Church. He continues to champion the concerns of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and avidly supports His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

A long-time member of The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, Spanos was recently elected Chairman of Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy & Hellenism, a new Foundation, dedicated to significantly increase support of the critical ministries of the Archdiocese into the 21st Century. He is also a recipient of AHEPA's Aristotelian Award (1984); and this year, he received from the President of Cyprus The Grand Cross of the Order of Makarios III.

In recognition for his commitment to community and his fellowmen, Spanos has received numerous honors and awards, among them the Horatio Alger Award, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Starbright Foundation's Heart of Gold, and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith's National Distinguished Community Service Award for devotion to community and concern for others.

In announcing the 2004 Award, Dr. Anthony Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of St. Andrew, stated, "Alex Spanos has thrilled audiences throughout the country at book signings for Sharing the Wealth, a recollection of his earlier years, but what strikes the reader most is his unambiguous and core beliefs. As he himself states, " I believe I have a sacred duty to share my good fortune with my church, my community, my fellow Greek Americans and my family. Giving just does my heart good." His actions speak even louder than his words in his support of human rights, devotion to our Ecumenical Patriarch and outreach to people deprived of freedom and justice."

His personal life has been as rewarding and fulfilling as his extraordinary career. He and his wife, Faye, are the parents of four children, Dean, Dea, Alexis and Michael, and have fifteen grandchildren.

Archbishop Demetrios of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, will host the event which is expected to attract more than 1,500 Orthodox Christian laymen and clergy from across the country.

Established in 1986, The Athenagoras Human Rights Award, named for Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, one of the 20th century's most notable Orthodox Christian religious leaders, has been presented annually by the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle to a person or organization which has "...consistently exemplified by action, purpose and dedication, concern for the basic human rights and religious freedom of all people regardless of race, color or creed." Among recent recipients of the prestigious award have been former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, Elie Wiesel and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.