Washington – Archbishop Demetrios of America bestowed yesterday evening during a Greek-American inaugural reception, the Medal of Saint Paul, the highest honor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, to Reince Priebus, the new Chief of Staff of the White House, to Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and to George Gigicos, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Advance. All three are Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, of the Order of St Andrew the Apostle.

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The inaugural reception, traditionally organized on the eve of the Presidential Inauguration, was sponsored by The Hellenic Initiative and was held in St. Regis Hotel just two blocks from the White House.

Both Reince Priebus and Congressman Bilirakis spoke about their deep connection with their orthodox faith and Hellenic heritage. George Gigicos, was not able to make the event, since he was involved in the preparations for the inauguration, and his parents Fr. Dean Gigicos and Presvytera Elaine received the medal on his behalf.

Archbishop Demetrios after bestowing the medals to the honorees said that the appointment of these Greek Orthodox faithful members in the new administration could be a catalyst for more involvement of the people in the community in the political field.

“It is about time that we show the dynamism of the Greek-Orthodox soul and mind and these appointments of Greek Orthodox people in the new administration is a catalyst,” he said and added: “The Greek Orthodox Church in America is going to be with you in prayer, in love, in care and with the absolute certainty, beyond optimism or pessimism, but with hope for better things to come.”

George Stamas, of The Hellenic Initiative, presented the program, while introductions of the honorees were made by Andrew Manatos, Michael Karloutsos and John Katsimatidis. Many leaders and prominent members of the Greek-American Community were in attendance. Representing Greece were the Minister of Defense Panos Kamenos and the Minister of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media Nikos Pappas, who traveled to Washington for the inaugural ceremonies.

Today, Archbishop Demetrios invited by the Presidential Inauguration Committee and representing the Greek Orthodox Church in America, is attending the official ceremonies and the swearing in of the 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump, from the Presidential platform at the U.S. Capitol.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 21, His Eminence will participate in the National Prayer Service for the new President at Washington’s National Cathedral and will read a biblical passage.

See photos from the event: https://flic.kr/s/aHskPWgEAd