Leadership 100 commemorated in March, 2015 the pivotal role of Archbishop Iakovos of Blessed Memory on the 50th Anniversary of the historic Selma to Montgomery Marches for Civil Rights in 1965 with a special issue of The Leader and with a Day of Service organized by the Leadership 100 Partners. The courageous decision of the Archbishop to join Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. demonstrated his belief that all human beings are created in the image of God and so are entitled to human and civil rights. In doing so, His Eminence once again elevated the Greek Orthodox Church in America to national prominence. As such, he was awarded with the Medal of Freedom in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter for his many contributions.
In acknowledgement of his role and of these historic events, Archbishop Demetrios joined President Obama and leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the first Selma March led by John Lewis, now a member of the United States House of Representatives.
Displayed here is the iconic Life magazine image of Archbishop Iakovos with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the March 15, 1965 Selma March, along with pictures of Archbishop Demetrios in Selma on March 7, 2015 – 50 years later – illustrating the continuing commitment of the Greek Orthodox American Community to the critical cause of civil rights, which draws on the Orthodox Faith and Hellenic Heritage.
Leadership 100 wishes to acknowledge the contributions of the Very Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Nathanael Symeonides, Director of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical & Interfaith Relations, in organizing a historical overview of these events through printed materials, videos, lectures and a special section of the Archdiocesan website, civilrights.goarch.org. He was able to do this in part with funding from Leadership 100. The link here is to a lecture on the subject given by Fr. Michael Varlamos of Assumption Church in St. Clair Shores, MI at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City.
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