Order of Saint Andrew – Archons

Archon crossThe Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle is one of the premier Orthodox Orders in the world and it is under the protection of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. Members of this Order are not called Knights or Chevaliers (which is French for knight). Each member is called Archon (Άρχων; pl. Άρχοντες) which is Greek for “Ruler”. However, it must be noted that this Order is one of merit and not of chivalry.

The Order was created on March 10, 1966 when His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, as a representative of the then Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople. On this day, the first 30 members of the Order were honored with the title of Archon with the full support of Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople.

The Archons are not mere members of an organization whose only commitment is to pay an annual oblation and attend an event. Each Archon holds an Offikion (Οφφίκιον) or Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and acts in that capacity.

Though the 1966 act was not unique in the investiture of official Patriarchal offices upon laymen, it was unique in that it was done in such an organized matter. Historically, the Patriarch has bestowed an Offikion upon members of the Church as far back as the Byzantine era and continued until present. However, before the Order came into being, it was extremely limited to those very extraordinary laymen who also were able to visit the Patriarchate and were personally honored by the Patriarch.

Each of the Archons take an oath to defend and promote the Greek Orthodox faith and tradition with their work and treasure.

Below is a list of Offikions:

  • Grand Deputy (Μέγας Λογοθέτης)
  • Grand Orator (Μέγας Ρήτωρ)
  • Grand Archivist (Μέγας Χαρτοφύλαξ)
  • Grand Counselor (Μέγας Πρωτέκδικος)
  • Grand Liaison Officer (Μέγας Ρεφενδάριος)
  • Grand Notary (Μέγας Πρωτονοτάριος)
  • Grand Recorder (Μέγας Υπμνηματογράφος)
  • Grand Jurist (Μέγας Δικαιοφύλαξ)
  • Grand Lawkeeper (Μέγας Νομοπύλαξ)
  • Grand Overseer (Μέγας Ιερόμνημων)
  • Grand Sacristan (Μέγας Σκευοφύλαξ)
  • Recorder of the Court (Ακτουάριος)
  • Summoner (Δεπουτάτος)
  • Teacher of the Gospel (Διδάσκαλος του Ευαγγελίου)
  • Teacher of the Apostle (Διδάσκαλος του Αποστόλου)
  • Teacher of the People (Διδάσκαλος του Γένους)
  • Interpreter (Διερμηνεύς)
  • Counselor (Έκδικος)
  • Exarch (Έξαρχος)
  • Secretary (Χαρτοφύλαξ)
  • Archivist (Χαρτουλάριος)
  • Chaplain (Καστρίνσιος)
  • Overseer of the Holy Chrism (Μύρεψος)
  • Lawkeeper (Νομοφύλαξ)
  • Notary (Νοτάριος)
  • Commissioner for the Orphans (Ορφανοτρόφος)
  • Ostiary (Οστιάριος)
  • Lay Ecclesiarch (Πρίμικρος)

Important positions all of them that have maintained their significance for over a millennium. I am not going into details on each Offikion above as the Order’s official website is very comprehensive.

Along with their duties, the Archons are also very active in their pursuit to protect the Patriarchate of Constantinople and its rights in Turkey from an ever increasing zeal to take away more from it. Their attempts in promoting religious freedom, relaxing the overbearing controls on the Church and the return of the stolen properties have met mixed success.

It should be noted that a similar organization covering the members outside of the United States was created in 1991 called the Brotherhood of the Most Holy Lady Pammakaristos”.

The Order of Saint Andrew maintains a very informative and comprehensive website at http://www.archons.org

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