Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew presided over the Vespers Service at the Patriarchal Church on November 29, 2023, commemorating the feast of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called, the founder of the Church of Constantinople.
Following the Vespers, the Ecumenical Patriarch conferred upon Dr. Leonidas Tzonis the esteemed Offikion of Archon Ostiarios.
The Ostiarios held a significant role in the Byzantine Empire, serving as a high-ranking official who introduced and presented foreign dignitaries, officials, and envoys to the Emperor. This position carried substantial importance, evident from the responsibility of overseeing the emperor’s official correspondences.
In his address to the newly appointed Ostiarios, the Ecumenical Patriarch remarked:
“You, Your Eminence, are now part of the contemporary Archons Offikialioi of the Great Church, entrusted with upholding the noble tradition of service and dedication. Your association with the Ecumenical Throne is a special honor, calling upon you to contribute your talents in your professional domains.
With a background in Economics and a distinguished career in business administration and academia, recommended by Metropolitan Theodoritos of Laodicea for your societal contributions, administrative prowess, and commitment to the Mother Church, you join our esteemed Archons. We embrace the Archons as partners in the Church’s worldly mission, anticipating your ongoing and expanded contributions.”
The Ecumenical Patriarch extended his blessing to the new Archon, his wife Vasiliki, children Vasileios and Georgios, father Vasileios, and their esteemed company, invoking the enduring grace and boundless mercy of the benevolent God.
In gratitude, the new Archon expressed his appreciation to the Ecumenical Patriarch for the profound honor bestowed upon him, highlighting his continuous spiritual connection with the head of the Orthodox Church.
Dr. Leonidas Tzonis serves as the Executive Vice President & CFO of Hellenic American University, NH, USA, and Hellenic American College, Athens, Greece. His academic qualifications include a Ph.D. from Newcastle Business School, M.Sc in Finance and Investment, PG Certificate in Higher Education from the University of Durham, and a BA in Economics and Business Finance from Brunel University. Recognized for his contributions, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Warsaw University of Business (Poland) in 2022. He has also imparted knowledge at esteemed institutions such as Durham University, the Singapore Institute of Management, and SOAS (University of London) through distance learning programs.
Photos: Nikos Papachristou