The late Archbishop Iakovos made history when he marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama in March of 1965.

The iconic Life magazine cover of Archbishop Iakovos standing with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. The picture was taken by Peter Christopoulos, then a photographer for the magazine, who persuaded the editors to use this photo on the cover. Now and Archon, he lives in New Jersey where he is a member of St. Demetrios Church in Perth Amboy. © Observer archives

Sharing his reflections in a Greek Orthodox Archdiocese video, Iakovos, who was Archbishop of North and South America for 40 years, said his motivation to march was to take revenge against all those who oppress people.

I came to the United States from Turkey where I was a third category citizen,” Iakovos says in the video, “So when Martin Luther King Jr. had his walk at the courthouse of Selma, Alabama, I decided to join him because this is my time to take revenge against all those who oppress people.”

Upon his return from Selma, Iakovos said people called him “prodotis” (traitor), others said he should be ashamed of himself and still others said what he had done was un-American and un-Christian.

Calling it the “duty of a man who was born a slave,” Iakovos said that he would stand for civil and human rights as long as he would live.

Iakovos was born on the island of Imvros, in the Ottoman Empire on July 29, 1911. The once majority Greek island has seen its ethnic Greek community dwindle through years of oppression and repressive laws by Turkish authorities.

Iakovos was banned from Turkey in 1966 after his outspoken criticism of the country’s human rights record and invasion of Cyprus.


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