Statements from Public Officials on the Falling Asleep of Archbishop Iakovos
Hillary and I were deeply saddened by the death of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, and we regret we can’t be with you as you celebrate his life.
Archbishop Iakovos was a strong force for social justice and human dignity. His efforts to revive Orthodoxy in North America and his dedication to promoting human and civil rights exemplify his extraordinary leadership and integrity. His legacy will be honored and remembered long into the future as he rests at peace with God.
Hillary and I hope you will find comfort in the knowledge that the goodness of his life will continue to inspire and strengthen people all over the world. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.
Forty-Second President of the United States
I am sorry I will not be there on April 14 when His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos is honored for his life of service to the Lord and is laid to rest.
Archbishop Iakovos was my friend, and he taught me a lot about faith and love of Christ. He lived a full life in which he demonstrated, among other things, that true service to God and to the faithful is noble and wonderful.
I shall miss this good man, and I know that all his Hellenic friends will especially miss him too.
George Herbert Walker Bush
Forty-First President of the United States
April 12, 2005
Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened by the loss of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos. We share the sorrow of the Greek Orthodox community and indeed people throughout the world who mourn the passing of a great man.
Archbishop Iakovos’ progressive leadership and concern for human rights provided spiritual and moral guidance to his followers for nearly four decades. It was my privilege in 1980 to award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And when The Carter Center opened in 1986, he honored us with his presence and eloquent dedication address.
My family is proud to be among those who have been touched by his warmth and friendship. Like so many others whose lives he has blessed, we will take comfort in our warm memories of this man of God.
Thirty-Ninth President of the United States
I was deeply saddened to hear about the loss of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos. I join all Greek Orthodox faithful in mourning the passing of this dynamic spiritual leader.
Archbishop Iakovos will be remembered as one of the great figures of Orthodoxy who for 37 years led the Greek Church in America with great distinction. Throughout his life, His Eminence exemplified an unwavering dedication and steadfast commitment to promoting Christian unity and advocating for civil rights, having even marched in Alabama in 1965 with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we mourn the loss of Archbishop Iakovos, we will remember this beloved and admirable leader’s strength, courage, and commitment to God.
Governor of New York
I join the Greek Orthodox community in mourning the loss of Archbishop Iakovos. During his nearly four decade tenure as Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, he broke down religious barriers and embraced the causes of justice and equality. Archbishop Iakovos was the first Orthodox leader to meet with a Pope in 350 years; he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama and was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter. We have lost a powerful voice for peace and religious tolerance.
Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor of New York
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos. I regret that a previous commitment makes it impossible for me to attend Archbishop Iakovos' funeral. On behalf of the King family, however, I write to express our heartfelt condolences to you and all of the members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on the loss of this great spiritual leader.
I shared with my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. a profound respect for Archbishop Iakovos and a belief that he was surely one of the most righteous religious leaders in America. At a time when many of the nation's most prominent clergy were silent, Archbishop Iakovos courageously supported our Freedom Movement and marched alongside my husband, and he continued to support the nonviolent movement against poverty, racism and violence throughout his life. I remain deeply inspired by his courageous leadership, his character and compassion and the enduring spirit of love and brotherhood he brought to the cause of Christ.
Archbishop Iakovos will be sorely missed. But he has bequeathed to us all a vibrant example of a true servant of God who stood for justice, equality and human dignity. Though we join in mourning your loss, we also share in celebrating a magnificent, well-lived life, and a wonderful human being whose shining example will live on in our hearts
Coretta Scott King
On behalf of the Anti-Defamation League we express our profound condolences on the loss of Archbishop Iakovos to you and to the entire Orthodox community he so ably led for 37 years.
We know of the remarkable stewardship he had of your church, and the way that he helped to shape the Orthodox Church in America. We cannot forget the impact Archbishop Iakovos had on the Jewish community. Through his efforts, dialogue and understanding began between our communities. Under his leadership we saw the orthodox community no longer cloistered, but a part of the fabric of American society.
His efforts during the struggle for civil rights and the interfaith relationships that struggle fostered are noted with gratitude. Indeed, the relationship between the Orthodox community and the Jewish community has been bettered due to his influence.
Please convey our sympathy to your community. While we have lost a giant in interfaith cooperation, it is our hope that in his memory and honor we can build upon the legacy that he left.
Abraham H. Foxman
Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor
Director, Interfaith Affairs
Statements from Religious Leaders on the Passing of Archbishop Iakovos
Replete with sentiments of sincere grief, our Holy Great Mother Church of Christ announces that yesterday, April 10, His Eminence, the venerable former Archbishop Iakovos of America passed away in the Lord. He was 94 years old.
This man, who like an oak tree that offered its shade to the devout flock of the Greek Orthodox community in America, was born on Imvros, the island of the Aegean Sea from where many great men have come. He gained international recognition and became a vehicle through which the centuries-long tradition of the Orthodox spirit was expressed in the New World. It was in the New World where he sincerely and very fruitfully ministered to Orthodoxy and to the Nation in many capacities, a diakonia for which the Mother Church will remember him with great gratitude, praying that his memory be eternal.
This hierarch of blessed memory, Archbishop Iakovos, was a genuine bearer of the spirit of martyrdom of the Ecumenical Throne. He duly honored the Mother Church, which honored him. He devoted himself to the ministry of the Mother Church through his final days.
Archbishop Iakovos was the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America for thirty-seven consecutive years, and through the authority of his personality by words and deeds he advanced the faith and culture of the Nation. He made sure that Orthodoxy was accorded her due respect every time he represented the Mother Church in meetings with religious and political persons, and he enjoyed the esteem and respect of all.
As a ship at dock, he retired in 1996, but he incessantly continued to occupy himself with honorable concerns and was always making efforts to promote the general welfare of matters pertaining to the Church and the Nation.
The blessed soul of our revered Elder and most precious member of our Ecumenical Patriarchate is already in the hands of the Lord. We fervently pray for the repose of his soul and for his worthiness to behold the face of the Great High Priest, our Lord Jesus Christ. We, also, express our condolences to the most devout flock of the Holy Archdiocese of America, which sincerely and deeply loved this Hierarch of blessed memory.
May the memory of our departed brother, Archbishop Iakovos, be eternal and blessed.
Ecumenical Patriarchate Announcement on the Passing of Archbishop Iakovos Announcement
At the Patriarchate, April 11, 2005
Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On behalf of our Holy Eparchial Synod, I write to you in order to announce the passing on Sunday, April 10 of our deeply respected and beloved spiritual leader Archbishop Iakovos, who served as Archbishop of North and South America from 1959 to 1996. As we mourn his departure, we remember a servant of God whose example of courage and inspiration greatly influenced both our Church and our nation.
For thirty-seven years Archbishop Iakovos guided the Greek Orthodox faithful and parishes throughout the Americas in a continuous growth of ministry and witness. He promoted and solidified the unity of our Archdiocese by establishing new national programs that continue to offer service and resources in the name of Christ. Certainly the vitality of our Church today is a fitting honor to his lifetime of service, and for this we give thanks to God.
Archbishop Iakovos was a believer in the uniting and healing power of the love of God. Throughout his ministry he brought together people of faith, establishing helpful dialogues with the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish communities. He was also sensitive to the truth that God created humankind in His own image and likeness. He vigorously supported Civil Rights legislation, and he marched in 1965 with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama, affirming the necessity of equality for all Americans. His commitment to human rights and religious freedom was demonstrated by his response to the needs of Greek Cypriot refugees following the invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and his leadership in supporting our beloved Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople. He was an ecumenical leader, a friend of presidents, and a tremendous contributor to the global witness of our Orthodox faith.
These are only a few examples of the legacy of faith and service that Archbishop Iakovos has given to us, a legacy that will be remembered for many generations to come. It is in honor of his life and leadership that our Archdiocese will officially observe a period of mourning for nine days from April 10, the day of his passing. During this time I ask that our parishes suspend all non-liturgical functions. Each parish of our Archdiocese should conduct Trisagion services for the repose of Archbishop Iakovos. On the day of his funeral, Thursday April 14, all of our parochial schools should conduct a Trisagion service at 9:00 a.m., and all parishes are instructed to ring their bells in a solemn mode from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. EDT.
As we faithfully complete the Great Fast and prepare our souls for the glorious Feast of Pascha, may we remember and honor Archbishop Iakovos for his many years of service and his faithfulness to God and His Church. May his memory be eternal.
With paternal love in Christ,
Archbishop of America
With hope and love, our hearts are touched by sorrow with the news of the repose of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, the former Archbishop of North and South America, for so long the beloved elder hierarch of the Orthodox faithful of our nation, spiritual father to so many dedicated clergy and hierarchs, and a tireless worker in the vineyard of our Lord Jesus Christ. On behalf of all the faithful of the Holy Metropolis of Chicago, we pray for his everlasting repose where the righteous rest and that his memory be eternal!
We have all been blessed to have been touched by his grand presence as the leader of our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for thirty-seven years and even in his retirement where his wisdom and devotion continued to inspire the faithful clergy and laity of our nation in service to the Holy Church. As a hierarch of the Church, we personally were blessed to have received our ordination to the rank of bishop on the Feast of the Nativity, 1969, by the hand of Archbishop Iakovos, a gift for which we are forever grateful. We have been honored and privileged to have served him as an assistant bishop, and to have later served with him on the Holy Eparchial Synod when we were elected to serve the Lord’s Flock in the city of Chicago.
Always our inspiration, always the model of spiritual fatherhood, always our guide in the pastoral responsibility for Christian souls, we will always remember his manifold accomplishments that benefited our Mother Church, our Holy Archdiocese and our nation. We will never forget our indebtedness to his persevering love for all of us, and while we mourn his passing, we rejoice that His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos has “passed from death to life,” resting with the saints in the heavenly Kingdom. He has returned to his first and true homeland, and for this we may be comforted knowing that in Christ he continually intercedes on our behalf. Again, may his memory be eternal!
Statement of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago on the Repose of Archishop Iakovos (Formerly) of North and South America
BROOKLINE---Metropolitan Methodios of Boston has announced that the burial of Archbishop Iakovos who passed away April 10 at the age of 93, will take place on Friday, April 15 11 a.m. in the Chapel of the Holy Cross on the campus of Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, 50 Goddard Avenue in Brookline. The body of Archbishop Iakovos will lie in state at the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Brookline beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 14.
Upon learning of the death of Archbishop Iakovos, Metropolitan Methodios who served as Archdeacon to Archbishop Iakovos, issued the following statement:
“The death of Archbishop Iakovos brings to an end a significant chapter in the history of Orthodoxy in America and the western hemisphere. He was truly a unique individual, “an icon of the ineffable glory of God.” He was well educated, extremely intelligent, charismatic, visionary and pastoral. He was born to lead. I believe he was the last of the great ecclesiastical figures of the 21st century who “let his light so shine among men that they saw his good works and glorified our Father Who is in heaven” (Matthew 5, 15). I, like his other deacons, had the opportunity to accompany him throughout the world. What impressed me was his ability to relate to kings and heads of government with the same ease as he did when he embraced young and old alike---especially little children in parishes throughout North and South America. It just isn’t the same without him. May God open His arms and embrace our beloved Archbishop Iakovos in His loving bosom.”
Statement of Metropolitan Methodios of Boston on the Repose of Archishop Iakovos (Formerly) of North and South America
All of the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America join in mourning the loss of this most special leader of Orthodox Christians in this Hemisphere. At the same time, we rejoice in the legacy that he leaves to us, and we feel challenged to continue his good work for the Glory of God. It can be said that his ministry has put Orthodoxy on the map in North America.
His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP worked very closely with Archbishop IAKOVOS for many years, and together they were instrumental in the establishment of such important organizations as SCOBA (The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America), and the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities).
In 1995, Metropolitan PHILIP said the following in his commencement address at Holy Cross Seminary, Brookline, MA:
“I am indeed delighted to share this podium with my beloved Brother in Christ, Archbishop IAKOVOS, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. During the past twenty-nine years, I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of working with him as Vice-Chairman of SCOBA. Throughout the years, he has lead SCOBA with much patience, wisdom and vision, despite the monumental difficulties which we face. I do not know of any other Orthodox hierarch who has sacrificed more of his time, energy, and health for our Church in this hemisphere than Archbishop IAKOVOS.”
Today, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP said:
“The passing of Archbishop IAKOVOS marks the end of an era. He has left his footprints on the sands of time as he worked tirelessly to develop the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and her institutions. He was the much respected and loved dean of the Orthodox clergy, and he was not afraid to fight for the rights of the oppressed in America and abroad. Through all of the years that we worked together, we never had a single misunderstanding. I have lost a very dear brother and friend. May his memory be ever eternal!”
It is clear that the words of our Lord apply to His Eminence Archbishop IAKOVOS:
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:23).
May our Lord grant rest to the soul of His servant Archbishop IAKOVOS, and may his memory be eternal!!
Statement on the Falling Asleep of Archbishop Iakovos
From the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
April 11, 2005
It is with great sadness that we have learned of the falling-asleep in the Lord of the ever-memorable Servant of God, His Eminence, The Most Reverend Iakovos, former Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. Throughout his life, Archbishop Iakovos served Christ and His Holy Church with deep faith and great devotion. We are confident that the Lord will now reward him for his dedicated archpastoral service by granting him eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
In expressing our sadness at this loss, I ask that you please accept the heartfelt condolences and prayerful support of the Hierarchs, Clergy Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America. May Christ Himself comfort you as you mourn the loss of a dearly-beloved archpastor who served his flock in imitation of the One True Shepherd, who came “not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28).
Be assured of our fervent prayer that the Lord will grant rest with the saints to His newly-departed servant, Archbishop Iakovos, and make his memory to be eternal!
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Orthodox Church of America
I take this opportunity, in behalf of the clergy and faithful of this Diocese, to offer my deepest condolences on the deep loss the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is experiencing in the falling-asleep of His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos of thrice-blessed memory.
In the United States, for thirty-seven years, Archbishop Iakovos led the parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese through a period of continuous growth. In addition to the immense progress witnessed by the Archdiocese, he was respected by non-Orthodox as an ecumenical leader, a dignified churchman of the highest caliber, and a champion of human rights and religious freedom.
His eminence was always responsive to the needs of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese, and for this we shall be forever grateful. His absence leaves a personal sense of loss for me, as I treasured his paternal advice over they years and enjoyed the fatherly meetings we had. I will always be grateful for his personal sponsorship of my education at Halki, and I will always remember him in prayer as the chief consecrator in 1983 when I was elevated to the episcopacy.
May our good and merciful God, Who has triumphed over death, be kind and merciful to him, and grant to him one of the many mansions. He has promised to all who love Him and do His will.Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos
The American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A.
With great sadness I received and read your information that his Eminence the venerable former Archbishop IAKOVOS of America passed away in the Lord.
We, Bulgarians are in mourning for him. We know and love him. He was a great church-man, phenomenal servant of God, dear friend of Bulgaria, admirer of our former Patriarch Kiril and protopresviter prof. Stefan Tzankov, my favourite leader.
As a representative of his Holiness Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria and on behalf of the entire Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia I share with you our warm sympathy and deep prayers for our beloved Archbishop Iakovos.
My inner belief is that the Lord will continue to pour out His abundant blessing upon his soul.
May the memory of Archbishop Iakovos be eternal. Vechnaia Pamiat!
With love in the Lord,
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese
of the U.S.A., Canada, and Australia
Archbishop Iakovos, former Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America from 1959 to 1996, fell asleep in the Lord on April 10, 2005 at the age of 93 years old. His Eminence will be remembered for many achievements during his fruitful ministry, including his encouragement, support, and establishment of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC).
His involvement began in 1966 when Archbishop Iakovos supported a landmark proposal submitted to the 17th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress. The proposal requested the establishment of the first “Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Standing Committee of Missions,” which the Congress passed unanimously. From 1967, this Missions Committee began to function for the next 17 years with 20 volunteer clergy and lay Board members. The Archbishop appointed Bishop Silas as the Episcopal Head of the Committee and me as the coordinator.
The Missions Committee had two main objectives. The first was to raise awareness about Orthodox foreign missions through writings, lectures and sermons. The second was to raise funds for scholarship assistance to young men and women from Uganda, Kenya, Korea and Mexico to study at St. Basil’s Academy and at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Upon completion of their studies, these students returned to their respective countries to serve as priests and teachers of Orthodoxy.
In 1984, at the 27th Clergy-Laity Congress of New York, Archbishop Iakovos again played a role in opening wide the door for the growth of mission activity in the Church. The program had grown too large for volunteers to handle the ministry and the Missions Committee requested a salaried Executive Director and a permanent office. Archbishop Iakovos again supported the decision wholeheartedly and appointed Fr. Dimitrios Couchell (now Bishop of Xanthos) as the first Executive Director. The Missions Committee became the Archdiocesan Mission Center with an office at the St. Photios Shrine in St. Augustine, Florida.
Ten years later, in 1994 Archbishop Iakovos’ pastoral guidance and vision supported another crucial step in the establishment of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center as it is today. His Eminence received very favorably the proposal to broaden the Mission Center’s ministry by becoming pan-Orthodox under the aegis of SCOBA (Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America). The proposal received the unanimous approval of the 32nd Greek Orthodox Clergy-Laity Congress and of SCOBA. Archbishop Iakovos served as the long-time chairman of SCOBA and the new name given to the ministry was the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC).
Since its humble beginnings OCMC, which Archbishop Iakovos helped to bring into existence, has grown into a missionary outreach impacting thousands of lives in the name of Christ. Since 1985, the Mission Center has sent 70 long-term missionaries to Africa, Eastern Europe, South East Asia, and Latin America and 762 short-term Mission Team volunteers on 95 teams to 22 countries. The OCMC has conducted 41 building and restoration projects of churches, schools and medical clinics, and financially supported 272 indigenous Orthodox clergy in 16 countries on an annual basis.
The Mission Center is grateful for all of Archbishop Iakovos’ support over the years. May his memory be eternal!
Father Alexander Veronis, OCMC Board President Emeritus on
Archbishop Iakovos and the Establishment of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center
The Anglican Church of Canada would like to express its prayers and sympathy to its sisters and brothers in the Greek Orthodox community on the death of Archbishop Iakovos who led the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America from 1959 until 1996.
Archbishop Iakovos was a champion of many Christian values and causes to which our two churches share a common commitment, particularly human rights and ecumenism. His visible presence in marching with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala showed his love and care for social justice for all of humanity and his courage in being a witness for God's truth in the face of secular power. Ecumenically he showed outstanding leadership in meeting with Pope John XXIII, becoming the first Greek Orthodox archbishop in 350 years to meet with a Roman Catholic pope. He spent nine years as a president of the World Council of Churches and committed his church to participation in the Canadian Council of Churches. He once said, "Ecumenism is the hope for international understanding, for humanitarian allegiance, for true peace based on justice and dignity, and for God's continued presence and involvement in modern history." How prophetic to proclaim this in 1960!
Archbishop Iakovos was committed to making the Greek Orthodox understanding of the Christian faith a living reality in the day to day life of North and South America, and we have all been enriched by his contribution to our common life and witness.
The Greek Orthodox Church is preparing to celebrate Easter. The hope and prayer of the Anglican Church of Canada is that the Greek Orthodox community we find strength and peace from the Easter Gospel knowing that Archbishop Iakovos has died in light of Christ's death and resurrection.
Archbishop Andrew Hutchison
Primate of Canada
Anglican Church of Canada
We in the Episcopal Church join with our brothers and sisters Christians everywhere in mourning the loss of Archbishop Iakovos who led the Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas for some 37 ears and who departed this life on April 10, 2005.
He was a champion of ecumenism how fostered dialogue with other Orthodox churches, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Southern Baptists, and other denominations, as well as standing always for human rights and the dignity of every human being.
As the Greek Orthodox prepare to celebrate the Easter Feast, may they be comforted by the assurance that Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and giving life to those in the tomb.
The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswald
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA
It is with great sorrow that we received news today of the falling asleep in the Lord of His Eminence Iakovos, former Archbishop of the Greek Orhodox diocese of North and South America, and first patriarchal representative to the World Council of Churches.
Archbishop Iakovos had the unique qualities of being at once a remarkable spiritual guide for the Greek Orthodox Christians in the Western Hemisphere, and an outstanding ecumenical and civil rights leader who marked his era. During his service as the first permanent representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the WCC, and subsequently as one of the WCC presidents, Archbishop Iakovos actively participated in the formative period of the modern ecumenical movement. A visionary Christian leader, he became known as a prophetic voice on issues of social justice at a time when much of the Orthodox world was silenced, and which was symbolized by his courageous public accompaniment of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1965.
We are grateful for his many gifts to the church and to the ecumenical movement, and express our heartfelt sympathy with Your All Holiness, the faithful of the Archdiocese and of the broader Orthodox and Christian world at the loss of this spiritual leader, and share in your prayer for the eternal repose of his soul.
Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia
World Council of Churches
Generations of Americans were inspired by the presence of Archbishop Iakovos on all the frontlines of our history. Born on the small island of Imvros in the Aegean Sea, as the Archbishop and spiritual leader of his American flock he continuously celebrated its gifts and encouraged it to fulfill its full potential in the landscape of America.
He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1965 in Selma, Ala., and was a fervent and outspoken champion for the cause of civil rights. His commitment to that cause was exemplified in the 1990's when he lent his support to a National Council of Churches USA campaign to raise funds for burned African American churches.
Under his leadership, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese grew from a small ethnic church community into a strong and vibrant church with a powerful voice for Christian ethics and values.
Archbishop Iakovos stood with Christians from many cultures and backgrounds to further the ideal of Christian unity. His deep belief in ecumenism was demonstrated by his strong support of ecumenical councils as well as his historic challenges to them. He was a president of the World Council of Churches and introduced Elenie K. Huszagh, Esq., immediate past president of the NCC, to ecumenism. He established dialogues with Protestant and Roman Catholics and carried his witness into the oval offices of nine U.S. presidents. All who knew him were gratified when he received the nation's highest civilian honor in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter bestowed upon him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos was a tireless servant of God who leaves a towering legacy of faith, justice and unity not only for all who knew and worked with him -- but for all who will benefit from his endeavors. May his memory be eternal!
A statement by General Secretary Bob Edgar
On behalf of the National Council of Churches USA
On the death of Archbishop Iakovos
With great sadness I have learned of the death on April 10 of His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America from 1959 until his retirement in 1996. Catholics in the United States have lost a dear friend and a devoted champion of the cause of unity between our churches.
On March 17, 1959, very shortly after his election as Archbishop of the Americas, His Eminence met in private audience with Pope John XXIII of blessed memory as an official representative of Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras. This truly historic event was the first official contact at such a high level between our two churches since the 16th century. In subsequent years, until Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras established a personal relationship of their own, Archbishop Iakovos remained a primary instrument of communication between the two churches.
As Archbishop of the Americas, His Eminence continued to work for reconciliation between us, and played an indispensable role in the foundation of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation in 1965. He would serve as Orthodox co-chairman of the dialogue for almost twenty years, during which time the consultation issued ten agreed statements on a wide variety of theological
questions. Archbishop Iakovos' contribution to our dialogue received further recognition in June 1992 when Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew invited him to lead the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate to Rome for the celebration
of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. The relationship of friendship and cooperation between Catholics and Orthodox in the United States that the Archbishop promoted during those years also played itself out in other fields, not least in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. In particular we recall the march on Selma, Alabama, in March 1965 when Archbishop Iakovos joined arm in arm with Martin Luther King, Jr., prominent Catholics and other Christian leaders in the fight for racial equality in our land.
When Pope John Paul II received Archbishop Iakovos in audience as the head of the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1992, the Archbishop encouraged the Holy Father to "become a builder of bridges pontifex, bridging chasms and uniting the peoples of our churches, never shrinking from the tremendous labor or the obstacles that are presented, both from within and from without, to thwart your progress." In a similar way, when he met with the members of the North American Orthodox-Catholic dialogue in June 2001, he thanked them for not becoming tired with the slow pace of the dialogue. He encouraged patience and fervent prayer that Catholics and Orthodox might receive one day from the same cup, and called for the reanimation of the "old fire in our hearts" that we might become one household again.
I wish to take this opportunity to extend my deepest sympathies to His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, and also to the clergy and faithful of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. All of us have lost a friend, a loving pastor and a fervent advocate of unity. May he rest in peace.
Statement on the Death of Archbishop Iakovos
Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton
Chairman, Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
Halki Alumni Association Resolution
On the passing onto the Lord of the former Archbishop Geron Iakovos of North and South America, very respected member and great benefactor of our Association, who, during the years that the School of Halki remained closed, contributed much to the work and mission of the School, the Executive Committee of the Halki Alumni Association, gathered at an at hoc meeting, decided the following:
a) that the Association express the condolences of its members to His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of America;
b) that Halki alumnus, His Eminence, Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, represent the Association at the funeral at Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York, N.Y.;
c) that a monetary gift be given to a philanthropic institution in memory of the departed Hierarch;
d) that a forty-day memorial be celebrated here; and
e) that the present resolution be given to the local press.
Athens, April 14, 2005
For the Executive Committee
Vasileios Anagnostopoulos - PRESIDENT
Professor Emeritus - Halki School of Theology
Constantine Giokarinis, Th. D. - GENERAL SECRETARY
From the depth of my heart, I express to you my sympathy for the departure to the Lord of the late Archbishop Iakovos of America, your predecessor, and our beloved and precious friend for [the past] half a century, Halki alumnus.
I am deeply saddened that I cannot be present at his funeral services and greet him with the last kiss, and honor him on behalf of the Halki Club (Estia) over which I preside.
I have asked our beloved Halki alumnus at the active service of the Archdiocese, Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, to represent me in my unavoidable absence; he has graciously agreed to do so.
The attachment of the late Archbishop to his alma mater is well known to all. He spent seven years of study at Halki; he kept in touch with Estia, and he was one of its strongest supporters since its inception. He was well known for his messages at the yearly gatherings of its members; for he was a firm believer that the Estia remains the instrument which has kept the Halki tradition, spiritual and theological, very much alive during the past thirty-three years since its closure.
It is our sacred duty to honor the venerable Hierarch and express this token of our gratitude to him for all he did for Halki and its Estia. With deepest respect we bow in the presence of his sacred remnants and we address him with our final farewell.
With particular honor,
(Professor) Vasileios Anagnostopoulos
Professor Emeritus - Halki School of Theology
Please accept my humble obeisance.
On behalf of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences on the passing of His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos, a servant of God, a brother to all men of faith, and a light unto this world.
The millions who benefited directly and indirectly from his valiant and persistent efforts at fostering understanding and love among all the children of the One God unite our hearts with yours in prayer for the consolation of those left behind. For his own sake, Archbishop Iakovos has no need of our prayers, as he has dedicated his life to the service and worship of the Most High and his fellow men.
May the blessed memory of Archbishop Iakovos ever inspire us to perceive in each other the love of the One Lord for all His creatures in their infinite diversity.
His Grace Nimai Nitai Dasa
Governance Councilor and Pastor
International Society for Krishna Consciousness in Boston