Washington – The 57th Inaugural Ceremonies for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden was also a special occasion of honor and recognition for His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and the Greek Orthodox Church in America.
Archbishop Demetrios attended the swearing-in ceremony and the President’s Inaugural Address today, Jan. 21, from the presidential platform, just a few feet away from the podium. Immediately following the official ceremonies, His Eminence attended the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Luncheon and offered the benediction following the President’s toast. The event was carried nationally and internationally by many broadcasts and networks.
Let us pray as we prepare to go forth in peace, confident in America’s bright future.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
O God of all, we give thanks to You and praise You on this day, as did our first President on the day of his inauguration, for we too “resort once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication.” We bless and praise Your Holy Name for Your gracious favor and divine blessing upon these United States of America, our President Barack Obama, and Vice-President Joseph Biden, as they commence the second term of their sacred responsibilities in the highest Office of our Country. Bless, preserve, and keep them and their families safe and healthy, together with all who serve our Nation, especially the Congress, the Judiciary, and the Armed Forces here and everywhere who heroically and sacrificially defend our pursuits of life, liberty and happiness. Heavenly, Father, may we ever abide in this land of opportunity and freedom in “perfect tranquility,” faithful to our foundations, and ever building a more prosperous, just, equitable, and decent society for all our citizens. And may we always share our faith and hope for the future with the whole world, through Your Divine and gracious love. Amen.
Vice President Biden Attends Inaugural Reception of the Greek American Community
Vice President Joe Biden attended on Sunday an Inaugural reception in honor of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and in recognition of the extraordinary public service of three distinguished individuals of Hellenic descent, Jim Chanos, Dennis Mehiel and George Tsunis, who were honored by His Eminence with the Medal of Saint Paul, the highest honor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Vice President Biden said he was delighted to be with Archbishop Demetrios and the Greek American community. “You are a saintly man and one of the finest men I have ever known,” said Mr. Biden to the Archbishop. He praised the three honorees for their contributions to their community and to the Country and added that the Greek American Community is the most loyal he has ever known.
Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies addressed the guests and expressed his appreciation for Archbishop Demetrios and his participation in the Presidential Inaugural Luncheon, where he will offer the benediction, immediately following the Inaugural ceremony and the swearing-in of President Obama and Vice President Biden. “It is our honor to have His Eminence participate, someone as distinguished as the Archbishop, someone who is such a great leader of an outstanding community in the United States, who personifies all those great values that we treasure in America – there is nobody better than His Eminence,” said Senator Schumer.
The program was hosted and presented by Archon Andrew Manatos, who offered insightful commentary on the honorees and their contributions, and on the role of the Greek American Community in the life of the Nation.
Among the many guests at the reception were Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, former Senator Paul Sarbanes, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congressmen Joseph Crowley and John Sarbanes, the Ambassadors to the United States of Greece Christos Panagopoulos and Cyprus Pavlos Anastasiadis, and many other administration officials and diplomats. Also in attendance were those Greek-American leaders honored with the Medal of St. Paul at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, US Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis and former Chicago State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Officials from previous Bush and Clinton Administrations also attended, including former US Ambassadors to Greece, Daniel Speckhard, and Cyprus, Don Bandler, former chief speechwriter for President Clinton, Paul Glastris, among others.
Archbishop Demetrios was honored for his significant role in the 2013 Inauguration. During today’s swearing-in ceremony His Eminence sat, along with the Supreme Court Justices, Senators, Members of Congress, and Cabinet officials, on the platform from which the President spoke. He then delivered the benediction at the very select Presidential Inaugural Luncheon in the US Capitol Building, to which many Senators and Members of Congress are not even invited. Tomorrow morning he will be one of the few clergy giving a prayer during the Presidential Ecumenical Prayer Service at the National Cathedral.