Abp. Iakovos Was Our Greatest Leader

I read your magnificent editorial “Nine Years without Iakovos” (Apr. 19) and I wanted to add a few additional thoughts, of years gone by but never forgotten.

Yes, Archbishop Iakovos was the greatest Hellenic American Leader of the 20th Century. In difficult racial times he defied controversy, he wasn’t afraid to rise to the occasion and march with Martin Luther King in his legendary 1965 march in Selma, AL in support of civil rights; a historic moment for America, which was captured on the cover of LIFE Magazine.

He was prominently visible and was paid homage by leaders of our nation at political conventions, inaugurations, and in difficult national times he spoke forcefully of human rights and freedom. His presence on the world stage comforted us and simply made all of us feel good about ourselves.

His dignified presence and eloquence lifted Orthodoxy and Hellenism to a higher level. We admired and emulated his leadership in our Parishes and in our personal lives. Many of us went the extra mile simply not to let him down.

He was the best of the best, an archbishop and a leader whose voice inspired and lifted his flock. He made us proud of who we were, the first mandate of leadership. May his memory be eternal.

 

James B. Zafiros

White Plains, NY