A new Archon of Patriarchate from our Community
On Tuesday, October 18th 2016, the title of the Archon of Hartoularios will be bestowed upon the President of the HCGM, Nicholas T. Pagonis. Being named an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the highest lay honour in the Greek Orthodox Church and a distinction accorded to relatively few people. It is, in fact, the longest standing honour in Christendom that can be conferred upon a lay person, a well known, distinguished and well respected leader of the Orthodox Christian community for their outstanding service to the Church.
The “Offikion”, or Office, that each Archon bears, stems from the Byzantine period. Through the Ecumenical Patriarchate, most of the traditional Byzantine imperial and ecclesiastical titles have been preserved. Thus, the specific titles bestowed to the Archons by Patriarch Bartholomew and his predecessors, in many cases, date back 1000 years or more.
This honour extended by the Ecumenical Patriarchate carries with it grave responsibilities, deep commitments, and sincere dedication. Consequently, it is of utmost importance that this honour of obligation be bestowed upon individuals of proven Orthodox Christian character, who conform faithfully to the teachings of Christ and the doctrines, canons, worship, discipline, and encyclicals of the Church.
Those selected to serve as Archons have demonstrated a commitment greater than average toward the stewardship of time, talent and treasure for the betterment of the Church, Parish, Diocese/Metropolis, Archdiocese and the community as a whole. An Archon must truly be deserving of the proclamation: “AXIOS, AXIOS, AXIOS!”
History of the Archons
The “Offikia” derive from some of the most prestigious offices of the ancient world. Originating in the Ancient Greek City-States, these civic offices were transformed when the Roman Empire embraced the Christian faith during the 4th century A.D. As a consequence of this transition, not only were the office holders important leaders of the Christian community, the Offices themselves took on specific religious responsibilities for the service and promotion of the faith in the Roman Empire. The ancient order of Archons is, in fact, the oldest and most prestigious honour that can be bestowed upon a layman in the entire Christian world.
HARTOULARIOS (Patriarchal Archivist)
These officers were leaders of the imperial corps of secretaries serving the archives, known as “Skrinia,” and were similar to that of the “Keeper of Documents”, paralleling the work done by modern archivists. Evidence of their role is as old as the 4th century AD. Many departments of the Church had their own archives and, as such, there were various titles given to ecclesiastical archivists, including, Vestiariou, Secreton, Sakeliou, etc…