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ST. KATHERINE TO HOST FIRST ANNUAL NATIONAL CHRISTIAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOM SYMPOSIUM WITH SOUTH FLORIDA ARCHONS*
A National Christian Rights and Freedom Symposium, entitled “Uplifting Christ – Witnessing for our Faith in the Face of Radical Extremism”, will be held on Sat., March 14, 2015 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church Cultural Hall, 7100 Airport Pulling Road, Naples, Florida.
The Symposium, co-hosted by the Archons of South Florida of the Order of Saint Andrew of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and St. Katherine, will feature leading Christian Rights advocates. Keynote speakers will include international speaker, writer and Christian Rights and Freedom leader Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, MD, the National Commander of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle (“The Archons”), and Rev. Father Fouad Saba, Dean of the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral of Coral Gables, Florida.
According to Proistamenos Fr. Philemon Patitsas (Presiding Priest) of St. Katherine, objectives of this First Annual National Christian Rights and Freedom Symposium are multifold:
1) To raise awareness of the deteriorating economic, political, civil and human rights environment of the Christian people in their historic birthplace and homelands throughout the Middle East and Africa, which peoples are in danger of being exterminated forever from the Holy Lands and historically Christian lands where their faith flourished for millennia (e.g. Armenia, Asia Minor/Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Ethiopia, Sudan),
2) To highlight the disaster – Christians are being maimed, martyred, mutilated, expelled, displaced and driven out in record numbers the likes of which the world has not seen since the days of the Ottoman Empire,
3) To call both Christians and non-Christians to action in defense of this most persecuted minority in the world today, the Christian people of the Middle East and Africa.
Fr. Philemon explains that this first annual national Christian Rights and Freedom symposium is necessary because American society, together with the rest of Western civilization, is oblivious to the extreme dangers we are facing. “Americans have been lulled into a sleepy coma”, he says, “Where the problems of the persecuted overseas Christians seem remote and disconnected from our everyday lives.”
“Although the plight of the world’s persecuted Christians has been so horrific, having just watched the documentary, “Smyrna, The Destruction Of A Modern Cosmopolitan City”, which chronicles the burning of this city of more than 500,000 people by the Kemalist Turks in 1922, and watched the emptying of the city of Mosul, Iraq by ISIS of its 500,000 Christians just this past summer (August 2014), the situation is ominously reminiscent of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ recorded in the Gospel of Luke,” says Fr. Philemon.
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:26-30
The Symposium is organized by the Christian Rights & Freedom Ministry of St. Katherine, which is being jointly chaired by Dr. Harry Dimopoulos, Richard Pappas, and Archon Harry Demas. The Christian Rights & Freedom Ministry’s mission is to neutralize and undermine the opponents of Christianity by organizing local events, initiatives and coalitions to educate, advocate, defend and counteract the antagonists of the Christian faith.
Anthony J. Limberakis, is a prolific writer and speaker on the subject of religious freedom, and serves as National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle (“Archons”), the American based defenders of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. His topic will be “Christianity Under Attack – The Plight Of The Ecumenical Patriarchate In Defense Of Persecuted Christians”. Dr. Limberakis has been an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1987 and a member of its National Council since 1988; he is a practicing radiologist and resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Rev. Fr. Fouad Saba is the Dean of the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral (Coral Gables, FL). His keynote topic will be, “Living the Word of God as Persecuted Christians”. Fr. Saba is a graduate of North Park University (’03) where he completed his B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies. Born into a family of Palestinian refugees, and raised in Lebanon, Fr. Fouad is fluent in the Arabic language and intimately familiar with the region and its complex socio-political environment. He has a great admiration for the Middle East, with its history and people, and the region’s deep connection with Biblical Scripture.
Because you asked: What Is An Archon*?
An Archon is an honoree by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his outstanding service to the Church, and a well-known distinguished, and well-respected leader of the Orthodox Christian community. It is by the grace of God that the Archon has been able to offer his good works and deeds of faith. Further, it is the sworn oath of the Archon to defend and promote the Orthodox Christian faith and tradition. His special concern and interest is to serve as a bulwark to protect and promote the Sacred See of St. Andrew the Apostle and its mission. He is also concerned with the human race’s inalienable rights wherever and whenever they are violated – and the well-being and general welfare of the Christian Church. This honor extended by the Ecumenical Patriarchate carries with it grave responsibilities, deep commitments, and sincere dedication. Consequently, it is of utmost importance that this honor of obligation be bestowed upon individuals of proven Orthodox Christian character, who conform faithfully to the teachings of Christ and the doctrines, canons, worship, discipline, and encyclicals of the Church. Those selected to serve as Archons have demonstrated a commitment greater than average toward the stewardship of time, talent and treasure for the betterment of the Church, Parish, Diocese/Metropolis, Archdiocese and the community as a whole. An Archon must truly be deserving of the proclamation: AXIOS, AXIOS, AXIOS! (Worthy!)