On September 8, 2013, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholemew I bestowed upon Arvo Pärt the honor of being named an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Designation as an Archon is one of the highest distinctions that can be conferred on a layman, and it is given for outstanding service to the Church, to distinguished and respected leaders of the Orthodox Christian community.
Pärt was given the title Archon Protomaïstoros, or “First Maestro,” recognizing his extraordinary contribution in the field of music.
Arvo Pärt is an Orthodox Christian whose music resonates beyond boundaries of church and faith. The Arvo Pärt Project at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, inaugurated in December 2011, has played a role in the Orthodox Church’s recognition of Pärt’s contribution to the intersection of church and culture. This honor by the Ecumenical Patriarch is an especially solemn and joyous expression of the Church’s reception of one of its cherished treasures.
“Those selected to serve as Archons have demonstrated a commitment greater than average toward the stewardship of time, talent and treasure for the betterment of the Church, Parish, Diocese/Metropolis, Archdiocese and the community as a whole” (definition from http://www.archons.org/archons/).