Farewell Dinner Remarks by Archons Commander Anthony J. Limberakis at the 3rd Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom (December 6, 2017)



3rd Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom

The Persecution of Christians In The Holy Lands & Middle East Consequences and Solutions

United States Institute of Peace
Washington, DC
(December 6, 2017)

* * *

Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Exarch of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Your Eminences and Excellencies,
Distinguished Scholars and Guests,
Brother Archons,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, please allow me to express on behalf of all the Archons our abiding gratitude and appreciation for your presence and participation in these most urgent conversations on the fate of Christianity in the lands of its birth and growth.

Some of these have been difficult conversations, but ones that we have needed to have. Many thanks go to all the honorable members of the American Government – from the Secretary of Commerce, to the Members of the Senate and House of Representatives, and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom who have participated, listened, and dialogued with us during these past two days. We hope that their presence with us will have an enduring effect, and will lead to the kinds of change that will bring relief to those who are suffering, even at this very hour.

For those participants who have so actively and sincerely engaged over these past few days – scholars, faith and thought leaders, journalists, and Archons – I extend our deepest thanks for your contributions to the ongoing dialogue.

We express our thanks to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America.

We dedicate the success and the significance of this international conference to the sacred person of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. His lifelong sacrificial service to others – whatever their faith may be – is our inspiration to forge ahead with our mission, even when it appears that all odds are against us. His presence, witness, courage, and nobility resound with clarity and openness that are, as the Scripture says, ‘a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.[1]

Like the lighthouse of love, truth, and hope that the Phanar brings to the lives of so many around the world, may the work that we have inaugurated here this week increase until the darkness of prejudice and hatred fades in the glory of the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Light of the World. So be it!

[1] Psalm 119:5.

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Quick Facts

  • While about 30 percent of the world’s population identifies as Christian, 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination are directed at Christians. (Source: International Society for Human Rights)
  • Christians face persecution in more than 60 Countries (U.S. State Department)
  • Millions of Christians face interrogation, arrest, torture, and/or death because of their religious convictions and cultural/ethnic identification (Source: Open Doors USA)
  • Between 2007 and 2014, Christians have been targeted for harassment in more countries than any other religious group. (Pew Research)
  • Christian responses to persecution are almost always nonviolent and, with very few exceptions, do not involve acts of terrorism. (Under Caesar’s Sword)

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