Washington, D.C.- U.S. Senators across America and their top staff are meeting with groups of Orthodox Christians about the crisis facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate. These meetings are part of the national and international effort led by the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Order of St. Andrew under the leadership of Archon National Commander Dr. Anthony Limberakis and with the blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios. The meetings address the Archonsʼ effort to secure the “religious freedom” and continued existence of the 2,000-year-old Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The meetings highlight the U.S. Senate letter to President George W. Bush that addresses this crisis. The delegations are either urging their Senator to sign the letter or thanking them for signing. So far 53 of the 100 Senators have signed. The letter will be transmitted to the President immediately prior to the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarchate this November.
Reports from the delegations and the Senators indicate that the Senators gained significant depth of understanding of this tragedy of historic proportions. Of the seven Senators who hadnʼt signed, five signed either just after or just before the meeting, creating a 10% jump in signers in two weeks. As well, the Senators and their staff have expressed their commitment to work more actively on raising this issue higher on the American agenda.
A large number of meetings with Senators and with their senior staff are scheduled for the coming weeks. For the meetings that have already occurred, below is a list of the Senators or their senior staff with whom Orthodox Christian leaders met:
Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL)
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)
Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY)
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE)
Senior Staff of Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Senior Staff of Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)
Senior Staff of Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Senior Staff of Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM)
Senior Staff of Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO)
Senior Staff of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Senior Staff of Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR)