The US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel Brownback, visited Archbishop Elpidophoros of America on Wednesday, June 26.
Ambassador Brownback briefed the Archbishop on the actions and positions taken by the US government to defend religious freedom and invited Archbishop Elpidophoros to the second State Department Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom that will take place in Washington in mid-July, where more than 1,000 people are to participate.
After the meeting, the US Ambassador expressed his delight at the meeting and congratulated the new Archbishop on his election.
“I’m excited about the prospects for working together with the Orthodox Community. It is a fabulous community in the United States and around the world,” Samuel Brownback said.
Furthermore, the US Ambassador said that “On religious freedom issues many times the Orthodox Community is on the front line of some of the heaviest persecution in the world and I think there’s much we can do together to see religious freedom prosper and that the people in these difficult places can have the backing of the global community for their freedom.”
Archbishop Elpidophoros said: “I was honored to have as a first official guest in my office after my installation as the new Archbishop of America Mr. Brownback, and I think this will be registered in the history.”
I’m grateful for that. And I’m moreover grateful that this visit had to do with human rights and religious freedom which is so important for the center of the Orthodox Christian world, our Ecumenical Patriarchate,” added Archbishop Elpidophoros.
Archbishop Elpidophoros stressed that “For the Orthodox people in the United States the well-being of our Orthodox center is extremely important and we are happy that our government in Washington supports our spiritual father Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and our spiritual center.”