October 26, 2016
On October 15, 2016 the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, led by Archbishop Demetrios, presented the Athenagoras Human Rights Award to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the New York Hilton.
The award is in recognition of Cuomo helping the Greeks get through bureaucratic red tape to rebuild St. Nicholas Church, which had been destroyed in the terrorist attack of 9/11. The Archons' website explains that he was "the instrumental person in the process of securing an agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey regarding the rebuilding and resurrection of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center."
This award has caused serious repercussions throughout the Orthodox Church, as well as among Catholics, as Gov. Cuomo is a staunch and unabashed promotor of abortion and same-sex marriage—two "evils of the day" that the Orthodox Church can in no way condone.
Cuomo, whose record on life has been styled a “lust for abortion rights,” has called pro-lifers and those who believe in traditional marriage “extreme,” saying they “have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Abortions are allowed at any time in his state, he was instrumental in legalizing gay “marriage” in New York, and he became the first to singlehandedly mandate public transgender accommodation laws.
Fr. Johannes Jacobse of the American Orthodox Institute stated "Giving a human rights award to Gov. Cuomo is like giving a responsible motherhood award to Madonna. It just doesn't work. Cuomo is one of the most aggressive abortion defenders in politics today. His defense of the abortion industry is relentless."
Cuomo, though officially a Roman Catholic, is prohibited from receiving communion, as stated by canon lawyers, for his various anti-Catholic stances.