Father Alex Karloutsos, former Vicar General for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, will be receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work as a spiritual leader, according to a statement released by the White House on Friday.
Karloutsos is among the most prominent religious figures in the United States. He holds liasonships, advisory roles and is a counselor to some of our nation’s highest decision-makers. Throughout his tenure, he has known eight US Presidents.
Karloutsos retired from his role in the Church in May of last year. In a letter to Archibishop Elpidophoros he mentions that he had submitted his retirement when he turned 75, but “it was not accepted.”
Father Alex Karloutsos to be awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom
However last year he insisted and finally his “request” was approved by the Archbishop and so he retired from active ministry on May 3, 2021.
At the time of his retirement, Karloutsos stressed that he would “retire but not retreat” and still planned to remain active in the Church.
Karloutsos is among the seventeen total recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom that were announced by the White House on Friday.
Other recipients include Simone Biles, Olympic medalist and the most decorated American gymnast in history, former US representative and gun control activist Gabrielle Giffords, and actor Denzel Washington.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor in the United States and is awarded by the President to people who have aided or represented the country significantly in their lives.
The awards will be presented during a ceremony at the White House on July 7, 2022.
One of the most recognizable figures in Greek Orthodox Church
Karloutsos was born in Greece and immigrated to the United States with his family at a young age.
His father, a priest himself, traveled the U.S. sharing God’s message. When Father Alex was in his earliest years of life, his mother tragically passed, leaving his father to raise six children.
Karloutsos started as an assistant priest at Sts. Constantine and Helen in Chicago in 1970, where he was active in youth ministries.
Some years later, he was appointed to the position of Archdiocesan Director of Youth Ministry and moved the headquarters to New York.
Later in the ’70s, Father Alex became the Archdiocesan Director of the Office of the Church and Society, where he served until 1980, when he then assumed the role of Director of the Department of Communications.
In just a short time, he went from a local priest, to being one of the most recognizable names in the Greek Orthodox Church.