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Greek Orthodox Priest and Catholic Nun to Receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom


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Two faith leaders will join the likes of late Senator John McCain, Soccer star Megan Rapinoe, gymnast Simone Byles, and actor Denzel Washington in receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden on Thursday. Biden will honor Sister Simone Campbell, a progressive Catholic nun, and Father Alexander Karloutsos, who is the former Vicar General of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of America.”

Campbell is a member of the Sisters of Social Service and is the former executive director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice organization. She worked tirelessly as an advocate for “economic justice, immigration reform, and healthcare policy.” She led a prayer at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, where Biden received the Democratic nomination for President. Campbell led an effort called “Nuns on the Bus,” which took nuns around the country to advocate for causes they believed in. She advocated for the Affordable Care Act and organized a campaign that urged Catholics not to vote for Donald Trump.

Campbell was quick to share the credit for her efforts, saying, “It’s such a great recognition of all our work.” She added, “Catholic sisters – we just do the work. We don’t expect rewards. But to have it seen is humbling and exciting.”

“She works to live out the mission of the community, striving for the common good in light of the Social Mission of the church,” said Maribeth Larkin, general director of the sisters of social service. “For Sister Simone, her work has been a bit more public with her leadership of Nuns on the Bus and as the Executive Director of NETWORK, Lobby for Social Justice. We are grateful that Simone’s fidelity to that call to justice is being recognized.”

Father Alexander Karloutsos is a former vicar general of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. In his 50 years as a priest, he has counseled several Presidents and was named a protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “I am so very happy for Father Alex, Presvytera Xanthi, and their children and grandchildren. This is such an exceptional distinction that it practically leaves me speechless,” said Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.” “That a son of the Church, the son of a priest, born in Greece and humbly serving His Church for over fifty years is to be recognized by the highest civilian honor of the United States is a moment in which every Greek Orthodox and every Greek American should take tremendous pride, especially in this week when we celebrate the Centennial of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.”

The seventeen honorees will receive their medals from President Biden at a White House ceremony Thursday.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Win McNamee/Staff

Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”

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