United States: A Catholic nun and a Greek Orthodox priest will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom


Sister Simone Campbell, a Catholic nun and social justice activist, and Father Alexander Karloutsos, former Vicar General of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, are among 17 civilians who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Thursday. . It is the highest civilian honor in the United States.

This Thursday, July 7, US President Joe Biden will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 17 civilian personalities. According a statement issued by the White House, this medal is "the nation's highest civilian honor, awarded to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private efforts”.

Two religious are on the list of personalities who will be awarded this medal.

They are Sister Simone Campbell and Father Alexander Karloutsos.

Simone Campbell is a member of the Sisters of Social Service, she is also the former executive director of the Catholic organization NETWORK, dedicated to social justice. The nun is best known for her advocacy for economic justice, immigration reform and health care.

The Executive Director of the Sisters of Social Service, sister Maribeth Larkin, said his organization was deeply honored by the honour.

"The Sisters of Social Work [...] are deeply honored to have one of our own, Sister Simone Campbell, receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on Thursday, July 7, 2022."

“Like all Sisters of Social Service, Sister Simone Campbell strives to work to advance the mission of the community, seeking the common good in light of the social mission of the Church,” she continued. .

Father Alexander Karloutsos is the former Vicar General of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

“After more than 50 years as a priest, advising several US presidents, he was appointed by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” the White House statement read.

“I am so happy for father Alex, Presvytera Xanthi, and their children and grandchildren. It's such an exceptional honor that it almost leaves me speechless," said Archbishop Elpidophoros who leads the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, when Father Karloutsos was honored.

“To have a son of the Church, son of a priest, born in Greece and humbly serving His Church for over fifty years, recognized with the highest civil honor in the United States, is a moment when every Greek Orthodox and every Greek American should be extremely proud, especially in this week when we celebrate the centenary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America,” he added, stressing that this is a “unique honor ".

In addition to the two religious, 15 personalities who have distinguished themselves in other fields will be awarded the medal at the White House. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, is among the nominees, along with US Senator John McCain, actor and producer Denzel Washington and Olympic gymnast Simone Biles.

Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care nurse from New York, was also selected to receive the award presented by the President of the United States. She is the first American to have received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: Creative Commons / Flickr

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