Former Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Vicar General Father Alexander Karloutsos received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, from President Joe Biden on Thursday.
The medal is given to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values or security of the U.S., world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors, according to the White House.
Karloutsos, who serves as a priest at the Church of the Kimisis Tis Theotokou in Southampton, Long Island, has served in various functions at the archdiocese. In his 50 years’ service as a priest, he provided counsel to several US presidents and was named a protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians.
He has simultaneously served as spiritual advisor to numerous organizations, including the Archons, the FAITH Endowment and other archdiocese-affiliated initiatives. He was also the chief fundraiser for the St. Nicholas National Shrine project, managing relationships with prominent businessmen and women nationwide and raising more than $80 million for the shrine’s completion.
Karloutsos retired from his vicar general role at the archdiocese in 2021. He and his family have a longstanding close and personal relationship with President Joe Biden.
The clergyman is among 17 recipients announced by President Biden.
“These seventeen Americans demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance, and faith,” Biden said in a statement.
“[The recipients] have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities – and across the world – while blazing trails for generations to come.”
Click here to read the full list of recipients as announced by the White House.
Click here to watch Karloutsos’ acceptance video.
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