Click to access: Orthodox Christian Social Action, Abp. Iakovos & Martin Luther King, Jr. , by Charles Ajalat
On behalf of Focus North America: Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve, Charles Ajalat reports the story of Archbishop Iakovos of Blessed Memory and his involvement in the civil rights marches in Alabama in 1965 which were led by Martin Luther King, Jr. as he learned it from Al Raboteau in a lecture at Fordham University in 2006. It is a story of courage, of a hierarch moving forward, alone, unfortunately, against unjust voter registration policies.
A Unitarian minister who also participated had been killed the night before. A partial quote of Archbishop Iakovos, as to his reasons for joining the March:
Our [Orthodox] Church has never hesitated to fight, when it felt it must, for the rights of mankind; and many of our Churchmen have been in the forefront of these battles time and again….Let [Reeb’s] martyrdom be an inspiration and a reminder to us that there are times when we must risk everything, including life itself, for those basic American ideals of freedom, justice and equality.