New York, NY - Noble Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel was awarded the Athenagoras Humanitarian Award of the Archons of the Order of St. Andrew of the Greek Orthodox Church in America in an emotion filled evening, Saturday, February 27th at the New York Hilton Hotel.
Established in 1986, the Athenagoras Human Rights 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 President Jimmy Carter and Mother Teresa.
A survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, Professor Wiesel has fought for the rights of oppressed people for much of his adult life, using his talents as an author, teacher and storyteller to defend human rights and peace throughout the world. He has been honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, led the list of dignitaries extolling the honored guest. They included: Governor Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, Congresssman Ben Gilman, Mark Green, Public Advocate of New York City, Rabbi Leon Klenicki, Director of the Interfaith Affairs Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith; Ambassador of Cyprus to the UN Sotirios Zackheos; Consul General of Greece Haralambos Manessis and Consul General of Cyprus Pantias Eliades, and National Commander of the Order of St. Andrew Dr. Anthony Limberakis.
The event was co-chaired by Theodore D. Demetriou and Konstantine L. Vellios, who concluded the evening with the introduction of the Archon Class of 1999. The 35 new members were invested in an impressive ceremony during the Sunday of Orthodoxy Liturgy the next morning at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Included in this years class were 14 members of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, led by the Most Reverend Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos.
Archon Class of 1999
His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon presided at the Ceremony of Investiture for 35 Greek Orthodox laymen from throughout the United States as new Archons of the Great Church of Christ, committed to uphold and defend the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate which has endured a long history of harassment in Turkey.
John Bartholomew, Lincolnwood, IL; Carl Cantonis, Fullerton, CA; Gus Cherevas, Flushing, NY; George Danis, Redding, MA; Harry Demas, Naples, FL; David M. Dutko, Esq., Binghamton, NY; Eustace Frederick, Bluefield, WV; Gary Grysiak, Monroeville, PA; Stephen E. Hall, Upper Marlboro, MA; John Charles Hrapchak, Columbia, MD; Stratos Inglesis, Potomoc, MD; Stamatios Kartalopoulos, Annandale, NJ; Michael Kundrat, Johnson City, NY; John Malatras, Charlotte, NC; Louis Mihalko, IL; Johnstown, PA; Daniel John Mucisko, Piscataway, NJ; Athanasios Noulas, Brooklyn, NY.
Also, Justice Nicholas Papadakos, Pittsburgh, PA; William Jesse Oldham, Windber, PA; Fotios Papamichael, Little Neck, NY; Lee Rallis, Denver, CO; Pericles Rizopoulos, Bronx, NY; Nicholas J. Shevchenko, Perth Amboy, NJ; George Andrew Smisko, Perth Amboy, NJ; Michael Andrew Smisko, Edison, NJ; Raymond Eugene Speicher, Warren, OH; George Tenet, Washington, DC; William Tenet, Manhasset, NY; George Tita, Koppel, PA; Andreas Tzakis, Lincolnwood, IL; Peter Venetis, New York, NY; Dimitri Ververellis, Blue Bell, PA; Nicholas Vourlas, Norfolk, VA and Peter G. Lagen, Chicago, IL and George Demchenko, Arlington Heights,IL
The texts of the addresses delivered that evening will be made available through the Orthodox Observer and will be released through the Office of Communications of the Archdiocese on the World Wide Web site of the Archdiocese.