Athens News Agency - January 20, 1999

Spyridon to Pay Official Visit to Greece

By Justine Frangouli

On the invitation of the Greek government, Archbishop Spyridon of America will pay an official visit to Greece from February 9 to 15.

The Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America will be accompanied by clergy, the President of the Archdiocesan Council, John Catsimatidis; the President of Council for Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Andrew Athens; Archdiocesan Council executives Harry Pappas and George Behrakis; as well as other figures from the Greek-American community. The Archbishop will meet with the President of the Republic, Costis Stephanopoulos; the Prime Minister, Costas Simitis; the Foreign Minister, Theodoros Pangalos; the Minister of National Defense, Akis Tsochatzopoulos; the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Gerasimos Arsenis; the Minister of Culture, Evangelos Venizelos; and the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Papandreou.

During his official visit, Archbishop Spyridon will have a private meeting with the Leader of the Opposition, Costas Karamanlis, as well as with leaders of all political parties and the Mayor of Athens, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

US Ambassador to Greece, Nicholas Burns, will host an official reception for the Archbishop of America, who will also be received and honored by the Academy of Athens.

The Primate will address the Greek Parliament's Committee on Orthodoxy, on Sunday, February 14. He will also preside over a solemn Divine Liturgy at the Athens Cathedral and, at some other moment during his visit, he will lay a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Last but not least, Archbishop Spyridon will pay an unofficial visit to an institution for children with special needs and offer a donation on behalf of the Archdiocese of America.

[ Translated from Greek ]

[ Αθηναϊκό Πρακτορείο Ειδήσεων - January 20, 1999 ]