New York, NY - Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accepted the invitation of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, to be the recipient of the Athenagoras Human Rights Award for the millenium year 2000. The Award will be presented on March 4, 2000, in New York City 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.
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 more than 250 million faithful worldwide, who worked for peace among Churches and people throughout his life. Previous recipients have included President Jimmy Carter, Mother Teresa and Elie Wiesel.
The entire Order of St. Andrew, said the National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, is deeply honored to have the opportunity to recognize the exemplary humanitarian efforts of Archbishop Tutu who has devoted his life to the eradication of apartheid and the promotion of religious freedom and human rights. This courageous cleric from South Africa whose non-violent efforts contributed to the demise of apartheid, helped unite his country, and has stood as the vanguard for racial equality, human dignity, non-violence and fraternity in that part of the world.
The recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal. He was educated at Johannesburg Bantu High School and then trained as a teacher at Pretoria Bantu Normal College. In 1954 he graduated from the, University of South Africa. After three years as a high school teacher he began to study theology, being ordained as a priest in 1960. The years 196266 were devoted to further theological study in England leading up to a Master of Theology. From 1967 to 1972 he taught theology in South Africa before returning to England for three years as the assistant director of a theological institute in London. In 1975 he was appointed Dean of St. Marys Cathedral in Johannesburg, the first black to hold that position. From 1976 to 1978 he was Bishop of Lesotho, and in 1978 became the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches.