Greek Cathedral in DC holds ecumenical anti-racism gathering

Washington, D.C., April 6, 2018

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Washington, D.C.’s St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral played host to a 400-strong ecumenical ant-racism program on Tuesday night, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the April 4, 1968 assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, reports the site of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios hosted the event that was co-organized by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC).

The evening was part of the Truth and Racial Justice Initiative, which is committed to “to eradicating the entrenched racism that grips the United States and paralyzes our ability to see every human being as equal,” which includes a three-day “A.C.T. to End Racism” program from April 3 to 5 according to the A.C.T. website.

A.C.T. stands for:

  • AWAKEN ourselves to the truth that racism is ever-present, deeply rooted in American culture, and profoundly damaging to our communities.

  • CONFRONT racism, speak truth to ourselves, our communities and institutions, and stand against injustice.

  • TRANSFORM the hearts, minds, and behaviors of people and structures that shape society.

The ecumenical gathering at St. Sophia’s opened the three-day program, which was followed by a silent prayer walk, an interfaith service, and a rally on Wednesday, and workshops on organizing effective legislative visits on Thursday.

According to the diocesan website, “The program included a welcome, greetings from the World Council of Churches and the NCC, an exhortation to ACT Now to End Racism, two scripture readings, audio recordings of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Archbishop Iakovos, a chanted psalm, and a homily.”

In his homily, Abp. Demetrios, stated, “As we repent of our past, we must forgive ourselves, one another, and those who preceded us. This will be known when we can look into the eyes of others and not see our differences but rather Christ in all people… we must continue down the path to reach the desired target. If we really believe that Christ is everything and in everything, we must keep walking beyond tolerance, push on past mere policies, and become icons of Christ.”

Other speakers included NCC Chair Bishop Darin Moore of the AME Zion Church, Dr. Agnes Abuom of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins of the Disciples of Christ Church, and the NCC’s General Secretary and President Jim Winkler.

“The event concluded,” according to the Greek diocesan site, “with a sense of solidarity and renewed fervor for action. Archbishop Demetrios called the event ‘open-ended until we have fully eradicated racism.’”

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Jamie Estevez4/10/2018 8:26 am
If I'm not mistaken ACT Now is an International Socialist Organization. What is the Greek Orthodox Church in America doing hosting such an event (with the heterodox and nonbelievers) in the National Cathedral no less? That's not to say there are not anyissues (such as US foreign policy and the vicious occupation of Palestine) where I find myself in agreement with ACT Now. I just think a sacred Orthodox Cathedral is no place for such a worldly meeting. Besides for an Orthodox person to stand against racism all he has to do is be Orthodox and truly follow Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gregory4/10/2018 3:18 am
Having a degree in political science with a minor in history this whole piece is tragically laced with propaganda and empty rhetoric. An American born and bread I can say after 52 years upon this earth that truly it is our own government that promotes racial hatred and division and the blame is squarely placed every time upon the shoulders of working-class whites decade after decade. This is a show and a farce for media consumption. Sorry to see the Orthodox “taken in” and used by the Wcc on this “straw man” of a non existent crisis.
Sophia Kostoff-Kosmas 4/7/2018 8:57 am
Great to see my Saint Sophia Orthodox church setting a good examole to promote zPeace on Earth Forevermore!~~~'Christos Anesti' and Happy Easter to all Orthodox Christiasns around the world ..God Bless xoxo
Alan4/6/2018 8:37 pm
Wrong continent. The two most discriminated groups in the world are:
1. Middle Eastern Christians
2. White South African farmers.

Butchered every day!
Castrese Tipaldi4/6/2018 2:42 pm
Yawn! Did they also preach, maybe by mistake, something Orthodox?
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