His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America on Wednesday, joined peaceful protests in Brooklyn “to stand in solidarity with my fellow sisters and brothers whose rights have been sorely abused.”
The demonstrations began after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after being arrested by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States.
In footage seen of his arrest, a white police officer named Derek Chauvin was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over eight-minutes, as he said “I can’t breathe”. While restrained, the 46-year-old’s heart stopped beating.
Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight-minutes, has had his charge upgraded to second-degree murder from murder in the third degree, while the other three officers who were present at the scene, have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
The incident has sparked protests with tens of thousands of protestors in cities and towns throughout the United States.
“I came here to Brooklyn today in order to stand in solidarity with my fellow sisters and brothers whose rights have been sorely abused. This was a peaceful protest, one without violence of any kind, and I thank all of those involved, because violence begets only more violence. We must speak and speak loudly against the injustice in our country. It is our moral duty and obligation to uphold the sanctity of every human being. We have faced a pandemic of grave physical illness, but the spiritual illness in our land runs even deeper and must be healed by actions as well as words. And so, I will continue to stand in the breach together with all those who are committed to preserving peace, justice, and equality for every citizen of goodwill, regardless of their race, religion, gender or ethnic origin,” His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros posted on Facebook.
“Ήρθα σήμερα εδώ στο Brooklyn για να εκφράσω την αλληλεγγύη μου προς τις αγαπητές μου αδελφές και τους αγαπητούς μου αδελφούς, των οποίων τα δικαιώματα έχουν καταπατηθεί βάναυσα. Ήταν μία ειρηνική διαμαρτυρία, δίχως κανενός είδους βία και θα ήθελα να ευχαριστήσω όλους τους συμμετέχοντες, διότι η βία γεννά μόνο περισσότερη βία. Πρέπει να αρθρώσουμε λόγο και μάλιστα λόγο ηχηρό κατά της αδικίας στη χώρα μας. Αποτελεί ηθικό καθήκον και υποχρέωσή μας να υποστηρίξουμε την ιερότητα κάθε ανθρώπινης ύπαρξης. Αντιμετωπίσαμε μία πανδημία που προκάλεσε σοβαρές σωματικές ασθένειες, αλλά η πνευματική ασθένεια στην πατρίδα μας βαθαίνει ακόμη περισσότερο και πρέπει να θεραπευτεί τόσο με πράξεις όσο και με λόγια. Εγώ θα συνεχίσω να στέκομαι στο πλευρό όλων εκείνων που εργάζονται για τη διατήρηση της ειρήνης, της δικαιοσύνης και της ισονομίας για κάθε καλοπροαίρετο πολίτη, ανεξαρτήτως φυλής, θρησκείας, φύλου ή εθνικής καταγωγής.”
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America also released the following statement:
At the invitation of the Borough President of Brooklyn, Eric Leroy Adams, and State Senator Andrew Gounardes (New York’s 22nd State Senate District), His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros attended a peaceful protest and march today in Crown Heights, Brooklyn over the killing of Louisville EMT Breonna Taylor. (Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed when the police raided her apartment in Louisville, KY in March.)
Borough President Adams said of the presence of the Archbishop: “I am so happy and proud to be marching with the Archbishop. It’s important that he has taken the time to acknowledge how significant this issue is.”
Senator Gounardes also commented on today’s march: “I’m incredibly proud to march alongside His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and our Brooklyn Borough President in the pursuit of greater justice for those who are no longer here to speak for themselves.”