Welcoming Remarks by Archon Commander Anthony J. Limberakis at the 3rd Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom (December 5, 2017)



3rd Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom

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

The Metropolitan Club
1700 H Street
Washington, DC
(December 5, 2017 – 6:00 – 8:00 pm)

* * *

Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Exarch of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
Mr. Secretary
Your Eminences and Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Beloved Brother Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
Dear Friends,

It is with a sense of pride and gratitude that I welcome all of you to the Third International Archon Religious Freedom Conference dedicated to:

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

As we commence this vitally important conversation here in the capital of the world’s greatest living democracy, we do so by honoring the sacrifice of our martyred Christian Brothers and Sisters throughout the world, but especially in the historic lands of the Middle East and North Africa, where the roots of Christianity first spread deeply into the earth, uniting it to heaven. Words cannot describe our deepest respect for them and our solidarity with them.

Their martyric presence is a mirror for us all, for us to take measure of our own commitment to Christ and His Church. Through the days of our conference, this mirror will be a vital component to our work together, as most of us – living in the land of the free and home of the brave – have really never experienced the persecution and outright violence and hostility that our brothers and sisters of the Middle East have endured. Therefore, it is our obligation to reflect on how we can be of service to those whose lives are continuously being shattered by their living martyrdom and sacrifice, whether of families, homes, or places of worship.

Now as we begin our deliberations, allow me to thank those without whom all of this would be wishful thinking, instead of the serious and life-changing event that we all hope it will be.

First and above all others, we express our profound gratitude and devotion to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He is the spiritual father of worldwide Orthodox Christianity, and an authentic leader for peace, reconciliation, interfaith and inter-cultural understanding, and environmental responsibility. His vision is truly ecumenical in the full sense of the word, and founded in the deep reservoir of the Orthodox spiritual tradition. May God continue to bless us to be under his spiritual care for many, many more years to come. Eis Polla Eti Despota!

The Archons also wish to thank His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate for his encouragement and patronage, which have allowed us to pursue these initiatives for all the Christians in the Holy Land, Middle East and our Holy Mother Church.

Finally, allow me to thank all of you for your presence here today. May our work be blessed by God, and may we find a lasting sense of solidarity with our suffering brethren, wherever they may be.

On behalf of all the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, I welcome you to the Third International Archon Religious Freedom Conference.

May God grant us His favor to accomplish His will!

Quick Links

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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It is an honor to be with you tonight to discuss the troubling increase in persecution of Christians around the world, including in the Middle East. The Middle East was the birthplace of Christianity and has been home to millions of believers for generations.

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