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SELMA, Ala. – Thousands of people attended the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 National Voting Rights Act and “Bloody Sunday,” that concluded today, March 8, 2015, with a long service at the historic Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church and a final march through the town of Selma and across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
“In great struggles, hope is sustained by faith in God and the assurance that He will fulfill His promises… On this anniversary we commemorate the heroic faith and hope of those who struggled, of those who upheld human dignity through powerful yet peaceful protests and demonstrations against racism, prejudice, fear and hatred,” said His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, delivering remarks on God, Struggle, and Unity, during the early morning Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, at the Wallace Community College of Selma. The event was attended by many religious and civic rights leaders including the Mayor of Selma George P. Evans, Martin Luther King III, Lucy Baines Johnson, the daughter of President Johnson; the Governor Duval Patrick of Massachusetts, US Secretary of HUD Julián Castro, US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Shaun L. S. Donovan.
The service at the Brown Chapel AME Church, that followed included scripture readings, choral responses, tributes and remarks by government officials, religious leaders and Civil Rights Movement leaders. Among those present were the Attorney General of the United States Eric H. Holder, Jr. and the former US Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young. Ambassador Young, who was a good friend of Martin Luther King Jr. and his principal lieutenant, was also a good friend of Archbishop Iakovos. In his remarks, he warmly presented Archbishop Demetrios as the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and successor to Archbishop Iakovos, paying tribute to his memory and contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and the March on Selma. Archbishop Demetrios continues the longstanding legacy of the Orthodox Church to fight against racism and to defend human rights.
Archbishop Demetrios of America is the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He is also the Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.
Also visit: civilrights.goarch.org