The Christian Rights and Freedom Institute is a Christian, private donor supported educational and advocacy organization bearing witness to God’s love on the current moral and ethical challenges of our day, especially on Religious Liberty, the UN’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights, on Persecution, and on Genocide. It operates under the oversight of the Atlanta Metropolis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
We envision a world where all people are respected as having been created in the, “image” and “likeness” of God. (Genesis 1:26-27)
The Institute was founded in 2014 in response to the ISIS invasion of Mosul, Iraq, and as a means of opposing and stopping the ensuing genocide. It sponsors an annual speaker series, culminating each year with the National Christian Rights and Freedom Symposium.
Father Philemon Patitsas is the Presiding Priest of the Saint Katherine Christian Orthodox Church (Naples, FL), and the Spiritual Advisor of the Institute. The Christian Rights and Freedom Institute is a ministry of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta, and promotes faith and virtue for all.
Fr. Philemon was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral (Charlotte, NC), and installed as the Presiding Priest of St. Katherine after completing studies with highest distinction at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (Master of Divinity), and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (Master of Public Administration).
“Witnessing our Faith by peacefully uplifting Christ”
The Holy Bible reveals that mankind is created in the, “image” and “likeness” of God (Genesis 1:26-27), and has been endowed with the gift of “free will” (Genesis 2:16-17, Leviticus 1:3, Joshua 24:15, Ezra 3:5); therefore, freedom is fundamental to our divinely ordained nature, and is an inalienable gift from God. The Institute opposes all affronts to this freedom, whatever their evil forms: be they tyranny, oppression, enslavement, injustice, or moral decay afflicting mankind and society.
Christians are called to illumine and heal this fallen world by sharing the "Light and Life" of Christ (John 1:4). God, as the author of life, is the source of everything that is good, for “every good and perfect gift… is from above…”. (James 1:17) As we are one with His life, we value and defend life.
We are our, “brother’s keeper” (Genesis 4:8-10). Christians are morally obligated to speak out on matters of religious liberty, human rights, and on the pressing moral and ethical issues of our day for everyone’s benefit. We must play a leading role in this educational process. The Christian Rights and Freedom Institute is committed to this cause.
Jesus Christ is the Divine Logos (John 1:1). He is the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16). He is the most beautiful of all. (Psalms: 27:4, 50:2, 90:17) He is, “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:1) "The Lord is righteous". (Psalm 11:7) Wherever beauty, truth and righteousness exist, His word is present, because He generously spreads His seed (see “Parable of the Sower”: Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8; see also “σπερματικός λόγος” – i.e. “seed of the Word”, St. Justin Martyr, 1c. AD). We seek and promote the growth of this seed wherever it resides.
As Americans, our freedom is Constitutionally protected; but in many places throughout the world this is not the case. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees our freedom of expression (i.e. Grievance, Assembly, Speech, Press and Religious Liberty); however, these rights must be protected, and extended to everyone who embraces freedom. Wherever these rights are undermined, our ability as Christians to live, share and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ is jeopardized. As Christians, therefore, we are morally obligated to defend these rights, not only for ourselves, but for everyone who values liberty. Wherever our rights and freedoms are secure, everyone benefits.
The decline in the number of Christians must be reversed. Families are experiencing unprecedented social, cultural and economic upheavals, which undermines the ability of families to preserve and transmit faith and values to succeeding generations. Additionally, more than 240 million Christians live in oppressive environments under conditions of extreme persecution.
We are all responsible for instilling Godly faith in succeeding generations, and educating our families on the preciousness of freedom, while recognizing freedom as a basic need of the soul, which God has endowed with free will.
The Christian Rights and Freedom Institute strives to educate families about the foundations of faith and freedom through our educational and advocacy programs, which are well suited for use in homes, churches, communities and schools.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta
Rev. Fr. Philemon Patitsas
Dr. Harry Dimopoulos, PhD