Metropolitan Silas' Encyclical for the First Observance of the National Holiday Honoring Dr. King

January 7, 1986

The Reverend Clergy
Esteemed Members of the Parish Council
Ladies Philoptochos Society Chapters
Youth Organizations and the Faithful of
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America

Dearly beloved,

January 20, 1986 will mark the first observance of the National Holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. According to the Federal Act, "the Holiday should serve as a time for Americans to reflect on the principle of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr." Because this is a Holiday remembering a man of faith and hope who cared about rights and opportunities, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos has asked that Greek Orthodox faithful affirm their commitment to peace, unity and racial harmony on Sunday, January 19th.

His Eminence who will participate in an Ecumenical Service marking the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. day on January 20th at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, has issued the following statement as Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas and as chairman of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas:

"Although it has been 20 years since that day in 1965 when I walked hand-in-hand with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama, I vividly recall my friend -- the idealist, dreamer, activist, Prophet, martyr, pioneer, humanist, hero and above all, Teacher.

A Teacher who taught by his personal example; a Teacher who never stopped reminding us that the 'quality of a man's life is in direct porportion to his commitment to excellence'.

The march in Selma has not yet been completed. The march toward full recognition of civil and human rights has not ended. As we observe this national holiday let us honor Martin Luther King, Jr. by loudly reaffirming the ideals for which he lived, and prayed and dreamed.

Let us on January 20, and every day, pray that equality, justice, peace and freedom will reign supreme as we pursue the legacy of Martin Luther King,. Jr. with determination, with love and peace in our hearts.

Let us with one voice, one heart, one soul, 'live the dream'."

Invoking upon you all the blessings of the New Year, we remain,
Paternally yours,
+S I L A S
Metropolitan of New Jersey