GOARCH - June 30, 1999

Archbishop Spyridon Receives the Foreign Minister of Greece

New York, NY - Today His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, welcomed the Foreign Minister of Greece, His Excellency George Papandreou, in his first official visit to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

During this meeting, the Archbishop conveyed to the Foreign Minister the full support of the Archdiocese for the Greek Government's extensive efforts in the Balkans. His Eminence also informed the Foreign Minister of the significant financial contributions of the Archdiocese for the Orthodox Church of Serbia. To date, the Archdiocese of America has generously donated in excess of $130,000.00 for the Serbian Orthodox Church in Yugoslavia.

The Archbishop and the Foreign Minister also discussed the leadership of the Archdiocese in providing the forum HALO (Hellenic American Leaders and Organizations) in which the shared interests of Greek-Americans and Cypriot-Americans are promoted and enhanced. Subsequently, the Archbishop expressed his continued support for Cyprus:

"Now that the situation in Kosovo is being slowly resolved the Cyprus issue must once again become a priority for the international community. After twenty-five years of illegal occupation in northern Cyprus by the Turkish army, the American interest must be exercised as President Clinton has repeatedly promised. From our side we are doing everything possible to solve the Cyprus issue."

Finally, The Archbishop commented on the report from the Commission on Greek Language and Hellenic Culture commonly referred to as the "Rassias Report" and entitled "The Future of the Greek Language and Culture in the United States: Survival in The Diaspora." A Greek version of this report will be disseminated in Greece for consideration. The Foreign Minister who formerly served as Greece's Minister of Education endorsed the report.

The Archdiocese also plans to share this report throughout the English-speaking Greek Diaspora (Australia, Great Britain, and South Africa) so that those communities also have an opportunity to explore the methodology used by the Commission.

   June 30, 1999 ]