Archbishop Elpidophoros of America was the honored guest at the National Intelligence University’s Presidential Lecture Series where he addressed the faculty and student body on the topic of “Russia’s Weaponization of Religion in the Ukraine Conflict.” This historic visit marks the first-ever address by the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to the US intelligence community. The National Intelligence University (NIU) is the US intelligence community’s elite flagship academic institution, and its faculty and students are comprised of members of all 18 agencies of the intelligence community (including the CIA, NSA, NGA, FBI, etc.) as well as all branches of the US armed forces.
NIU President Dr. J. Scott Cameron extended an invitation for Archbishop Elpidophoros to visit NIU and to share his unique perspectives, insights, and experiences about the religious dynamics of the Ukraine conflict. Facilitating the event was Dr. Jake Sotiriadis, Director of NIU’s Research Center for Futures Intelligence and senior Air Force intelligence officer, who moderated the discussion for the hundreds of attendees in the university’s auditorium. The Archbishop delivered a speech on the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and discussed the implications of Russia’s distortion of the Orthodox faith in the Ukraine conflict. In recent times, these topics have been increasingly coming into focus within Western academic and political circles. Archbishop Elpidophoros sought to make a meaningful contribution by enhancing the US national security community’s awareness of the ideational aspects of war and conflict. The Archbishop answered numerous questions from students and faculty who appreciated his unique knowledge and personal experience of a convoluted conundrum that demands both nuanced understanding and a sense of urgency.
The Archbishop presented NIU President Cameron with a copy of a book on the Ukrainian Church authored by the Archbishop, which will be displayed at the NIU library, as well as a commemorative icon in honor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s centennial anniversary. After receiving a standing ovation from the audience, Dr. Cameron presented a commemorative NIU folio to Archbishop Elpidophoros and thanked him on behalf of the NIU academic community.
Upon concluding the lecture, Archbishop Elpidophoros traveled to Constantinople, where he is now participating in the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Photos: Courtesy of The National Intelligence University