Statement by Archbishop Iakovos on the First Anniversary of the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The first anniversary of the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. must give us pause. The sacrifice of his life must not go wasted. The brotherly love with which his spirit enveloped and dignified all men must live on. He saw and suffered injustices and he opposed them with spiritual energies that are far stronger than violent recourses. There was never a question of where he stood in the struggle of his people for equality and democratic opportunity, but his arsenal of weapons drew not on force but compassion and understanding. He was a man who was appalled by violence as a means of attaining equality and justice which are the God-given rights of all men.

His dream for his people was not remote; it was immediate, life-like and simple: black and white children playing together, unpoisoned by the venom of the past. It is a dream the reality of which all Americans must strive for.

It is significant that this first anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. falls upon the day when Western Christians observe the Crucifixion of the greatest of Martyrs, the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Founder of a faith based on love for all men. Dr. King was a disciple of Christ whose heart was aflame with His love and teaching for peace and equality. We mourn them both on this sad day and we fervently pray that this sacrifice made by this outstanding Minister of Christ, in the name of his Master, will bring about a better America and a better world.