GOARCH - April 21, 1999

Archbishop Spyridon Receives Prime Minister Simitis at the Archdiocese

New York, NY - His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, received His Excellency Costas Simitis, the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic yesterday at the headquarters of the Archdiocese in New York. The Prime Minister is on official visit to the United States, and when the Archbishop was on an official visit to Greece earlier this year, he was also received by the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minster was received with his delegation, including the Ambassador of Greece to the United States and the Consul General in New York, at 11:00 a.m. A prayer service immediately followed with reciprocal greetings by the Archbishop and Prime Minister. In his remarks, Prime Minister Simitis stressed the close cooperation and bond that is held by the Greek People with the American Greek Orthodox Community. In remarks to the Press, the Prime Minister stressed the role of the Archbishop and the Church, " . . . we must do all that we can to assist His Eminence and the Greek Orthodox Church, and indeed all the activities of the Greek Orthodox People that are developing here in the United States."

Following the Service, the Prime Minister and the Archbishop held a private meeting and exchanged gifts. At a Press Conference later in the morning, Archbishop Spyridon reflected on a number of the issues they discussed, including Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations, and the continuing crisis in Kosovo. In the latter regard, the Archbishop commented: "It is certainly a concern of this Archdiocese, that the solution to the crisis in Kosovo will not be found in a prolongation of the war, but in an immediate cessation of the bombardment and a safe return of the refugees to Kosovo."

The evening prior to this meeting (April 19th), both leaders were in attendance, together with over 600 guests from throughout the world, at the Gala Opening of the "Galleries of Archaic and Classical Greek Art" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

   April 21, 1999 ]