New York, NY – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, spiritual leader of 1.5 million Greek Orthodox Christians in America, has announced that His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania is the recipient of the Athenagoras Human Rights Award for 2001.

The award will be presented on February 17th, at the New York Hilton Hotel at the annual banquet of the Order of St. Andrew, distinguished laymen of the Greek Orthodox Church who have been granted the title of Archon by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the banquet which will begin with a reception at 6:00 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m.

Established in 1986, the Athenagoras Award honors 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 of Orthodoxy, numbering over 250 million faithful worldwide, who worked for peace among Churches and people throughout his life. Previous recipients have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter, Mother Teresa and Elie Wiesel.

At the end of his visit to Albania in November 1999, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said, “ for all those who do not believe in miracles at the end of the 20th Century, let them come to Albania and see for themselves what has been done here”.

As a young theologian, Anastasios Yannoulatos helped to establish “Go Ye”, a movement aimed at rekindling the missionary conscience of the Orthodox Church. Following his ordination in 1964, Father Anastasios set out for East Africa and celebrated his first Divine Liturgy in Uganda. Consecrated Bishop of Androussa by the Church of Greece in 1972, Bishop Anastasios returned to East Africa in 1980. He created a strong Orthodox Church by training native leaders and in 1982 officially opened the Archbishop Makarios III Orthodox Patriarchal Seminary in Nairobi, Kenya.

In 1991 after establishing a firm foundation for Orthodoxy in East Africa, the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected him Archbishop of Tirana, Durce and All Albania to revive the Autocephalous Church of Albania, a Church on the brink of collapse.

His Beatitude has been the major force in the miraculous resurrection of the Albanian Orthodox Church. Seventy new churches have been built, 65 churches and five monasteries have been renovated and 130 churches repaired by utilizing the talents of local architects, engineers, iconographers and other craftsmen. Presently, the Orthodox Church is one of the largest organizations in the country, promoting economic development and creating hundreds of jobs.

Archbishop Anastasios established the Diaconia Agapes (Service of Love) in 1992 to serve as the Church’s social, developmental and relief office which responds to the profound spiritual and economic crisis that resulted from the years of Communist domination. Diakonia Agapes in conjunction with ACT (Action Churches Together) Network provides emergency assistance to all in need. In 1999 Diakonia Agapes with ACT assisted over 18,000 Kosovo displaced persons with an $8.5 million Emergency Program. In addition, Diakonia Agapes also set up an operational refugee camp in Ndroq, Albania to care for 1300 refugees a month.

“The entire Order of St. Andrew,” said National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, “ is humbled by the opportunity to recognize this modern Orthodox missionary and humanitarian. The evening will conclude with the introduction of the Archon Class of 2001 to be invested during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, February 18th at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios will preside at the Ceremony of Investiture for 45 laymen from throughout the United States as Archons of the Great Church of Christ, committed to uphold and defend the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Archon class of 2001

Henry Angelo, Jr., Miami, FL; Daniel Anthony, San Antonio, TX; George Argerakis, Fort Lee, NJ; Bob Bakalis, Brooklyn, NY; John Bober,Warren, New Jersey ;Chris Brous, Stamford, CT; Emil Bzdil, Drifton, CA; Chris Caras, Palos Verdes Estates,CA; George Chacopoulos, Newport Beach, CA; Stephen Cherpelis, Douglaston, NY; Frank Cockinos, Charlotte, NC; Dale Cosgrove, Monongahela, PA; George Dariotis, Alexandria, VA; Michael Demetriou, Garden City, NY; Louis Dolhy, Brooklyn, NY; Robert Doumakes, Los Angeles, CA; Christopher Fekos, Pittsburgh, PA; Alexander Giannaras, Libertyville, IL; John Gidicsin, Brooklyn, NY; Peter Hodanick,Binghamton, NY; George Husar, Jr, Binghamton, NY; Nicholas Kalinin, Longview, WA.

Also, George Kappos, Pepper Pike, OH; Andrew Kartalis, Beachwood, OH; Harry Kolendrianos, Danville, VA; John Kost, Drifton, PA; Paul Lillios, Northbrook, IL; William Marianes; Tucker, GA;Charles Marangoudakis, Maspeth, NY; John Mehos, Jersey City, NJ; George Omiros, Uniontown, PA;Christos Panopoulos,Grand Rapids, MI; Constantine Papadakis, Wayne, PA; John Pappajohn, Des Moines, IA; Louis Pappan, Beaver Falls, PA; Joseph Parimucha, Alexandria, VA;John Schwika, White Haven,PA; Edward Sedor, Johnson City,PA; Robert Skarlis, Pittsburgh,PA; Peter Stavrianidis, Somerset,NJ; Ernest Tidick, Endwell,NY; Peter Vlahos, New York,NY; Thomas Vlahos, Bronx, NY and Nicholas Vidalakis.