Bravo! On Oct. 31, the Patriarch closes his speech at the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle Annual Banquet at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel with these words:
Our Orthodox Christian faith has lived and thrived in this nation for generations, from the first Greeks who came to New Smyrna in the 18th Century, to the first Orthodox parish in America in New Orleans, which was founded in 1863, and flourishes to this day and which we have just visited for the second time.
America is a land and, indeed, an idea that offers to every soul the freedom to express one’s own religious conviction. and this is surely the most basic of inalienable human rights. We are profoundly grateful for the blessings that have been afforded all Orthodox Christians in this great country. And for this we say, may God bless the Orthodox Christians in this United States and may God bless America.