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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2005

Schumer Co-Sponsors Resolution To Honor Life Of Archbishop Iakovos

Archbishop Iakovos, who led the Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas for 37 years, passed away April 10, 2005; resolution introduced to honor his life and achievements

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today co-sponsored a bi-partisan resolution honoring the life and contributions of His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos, former archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. Senator Snowe is introducing the resolution and Senator Sarbanes is also co-sponsoring. The resolution is being referred to the Judiciary Committee on which Schumer sits.

“For almost four decades, Archbishop Iakovos’ progressive leadership and concern for human and civil rights helped to shape the Orthodox Church in America,” Schumer said. “Archbishop Iakovos was an inspiring and committed leader, not only of the Greek Orthodox Church, but also throughout New York and America and his ability to reach out to members of different faiths was truly extraordinary. His great works and remarkable legacy will be honored and remembered by generations of Greek Americans and Americans of all faiths and ethnicities."

As a national leader, Archbishop Iakovos marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., met with Pope John XXIII, and became a friend to nine presidents. Among his honors, Archbishop Iakovos received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and was cited by the Academy of Athens, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Appeal of Conscience.

Archbishop Iakovos was elected on February 14, 1959 by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the fourth Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Americas and enthroned April 1, 1959 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City.

Iakovos was born Demetrios Coucouzis in 1911 on the island of Imvros, Turkey. He earned a master’s degree at the Ecumenical Patriarch’s Theological School in Istanbul in 1934. Arriving in the United States in 1939, he was ordained to the priesthood in Lowell, Mass., in 1940 and earned a second master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1945. He became a U.S. citizen in 1950.

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