Primate of Greek Orthodox Church in America to give address and receive honorary degree from Fairfield University


His Eminence Archbishop DemetriosHis Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from Fairfield University and deliver an address on "Enhancing the Ecumenical Dialogue," on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m., in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The event commemorates the 40th anniversary of his elevation to the Episcopacy and recognizes his service to the Greek Orthodox Church of America and internationally to men and women of good will. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

The Rev. Demetrios Recachinas, protopresbyter of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Bridgeport, will give the invocation and the honorary degree citation will be read by Dr. Evangelos Hadjimichael, dean of the School of Engineering. Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., university president, and Paul J Huston of Greenwich, chairman of the University Board of Trustees, will represent the University in conferring the honorary degree.

"It is most appropriate that Fairfield University should honor His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios on the occasion of his fortieth anniversary as a bishop with the University's highest award, an honorary doctoral degree," Fr. von Arx said. "In so doing, Fairfield University recognizes the Archbishop's contributions to the Greek Orthodox community, the world of scholarship and the ecumenical movement. It is my hope that the Archbishop will be blessed by God with many more years of service to the Greek Orthodox community and to all of us who seek greater understanding between the Latin and Greek communities."

Born Demetrios Takatellis in Thessaloniki, Greece, the archbishop had strong ties to education even before he was enthroned as Archbishop of America, becoming the spiritual leader to 1.5 million Greek Orthodox Christians. He holds a Ph.D., with distinction, from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a doctorate in theology from the University of Athens.

In December of 2001, the Archbishop spoke about the impact of September 11 on religious and social life at an international meeting in Brussels of more than one hundred Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders. In November of 2004, he participated in a historic Ecumenical service at the Vatican with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope John Paul II. In June of 2007, his Eminence was awarded the Marc H. Tanenbaum Award from the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.

Archbishop Demetrios also spent a decade as the Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins at Massachusetts-based Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, where he taught many of America's Greek Orthodox clergy. He was a visiting professor of the New Testament at Harvard Divinity School and is the author of six books, including "The Fathers Interpret" and "A Call to Faith," as well as hundreds of articles and essays published in journals and periodicals.

Bookmark and Share

Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 6, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 101