Archon Leaders Meet with Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, asking US to push for the reopening of Halki
Washington, D.C.- Religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Americaʼs strategic agenda to secure it were discussed in a meeting with Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns on February 21, 2007. He is the third-ranking official in the U.S. State Department.
These issues were discussed with Archon National Commander Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, Archon and dean of the Greek-American community Andrew A. Athens, the Archon Regional Commander and Archons who coordinate Washington, D.C. efforts for the crisis facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos, respectively, and Archon spiritual advisor Father Alexander Karloutsos.
Undersecretary Burns and the Archons agreed on the extraordinary degree of the crisis facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and on the importance of this crisis to America. They agreed as well on the importance of America supporting Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, one of the worldʼs preeminent spiritual leaders and peacemakers. As well, there was agreement on the course of action that can be most productive and the importance of the Order keeping in close touch with European Union leaders and American officials handling this matter.
During this meeting, the Undersecretary was also briefed about the discriminatory treatment of the Order of Saint Andrew in Turkey during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarchate November 29 – December 1of 2006.
As a follow-up to that meeting, and as part of the ongoing effort for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, parts of this group also held meetings with other key State Department officials involved in the oversight and day-to-day American efforts on this subject.
According to very reliable sources, on Thursday the Archons met with Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte. Negroponte, a Greek American, recently became number two in the State Departmentʼs hierarchy,
Although U.S. officials are trying to be cautious on issues involving reforms in Turkey, there is an enhanced optimism, especially after the measures announced by the Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyiannis, during her visit to Western Thrace, as well as other Greek Government officials. According to well informed sources, the Department of State was informed in advance.
“No one will ever acknowledge that these measures have been taken in connection to the reopening of the School of Halki and the issues of Religious Freedom in Turkey, but they are surely helpful for our goals”, an informed source told GreekNews. He also said, high level US officials praised Dora Bakoyiannis for her role.
The Greek Foreign Minister is expected to visit US in March, for meeting at the United Nations and in Washington