Greek Orthodox Church of America Welcomes Religious Leaders to Share in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2003

On Tuesday January 24, 2023, the Greek Orthodox Church in America
offered a beautiful Ecumenical Prayer Service for the Week of Prayer for Christian
Unity at Saint Nicolas Shrine on Ground Zero. [1] The event, entitled “Do Good, Seek
Justice,” (Theme of the International Observance, Isaiah 1:17) brought
speakers / Scripture readers, and prayer leaders together representing a variety of
churches, including:

Presider: His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, a most humble and
inspirational leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. The archbishop
spoke of FRIENDSHIP as the most essential element in advancing Ecumenical
dialogue and service. [2]

Biography of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America – Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (

Gospel Homilist: His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Catholic Archdiocese of
New York His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan – New York, NY Cardinal Dolan
spoke of the importance of his friendship with Archbishop Elpidophoros, and
official representatives from the Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist, non-denominational
Christian, and National Council of Churches present there. His homily focused on
words of Pope Francis insisting the Church give priority to an outward focus with
friendship, collaboration, and charity, and less on the politics of each respective
denomination’s internal struggles.


A. Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith, World Council of Churches President
from North America, who pleaded for more efforts to break down cultural
and political barriers that separate African American Churches from the
White Christian Churches. She urged greater, focused solidarity on
economic reforms and related social justice issues while maintaining
collaboration on the more visible mutual works of charity.

Reverend Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith’s Biography (

Recommended Website to find Collaborators:  THE DIGITAL REPOSITORY FOR THE BLACK EXPERIENCE  – Homepage | The HistoryMakers 

B. Rev. Samuel Davis, St. Simon of Cyrene Orthodox Mission, New Brunswick,
NJ, Orthodox Church in America. Rev. Davis, an African American convert to Orthodoxy, proved an imposing presence with a sonorous voice making unequivocal statements on the hypocrisies of those who claim to be “color blind.” He urged more humility in inter-racial relations and the importance of the Church cultivating greater listening skills.

“Responding to Racism: The Orthodox Witness in America” – Juneteenth – From the Archdiocese – Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (

Parishes – St. Simon of Cyrene Mission – Orthodox Church in America (

C. FYI: Scheduled Speaker (Unable to Attend) Bishop Vashti Murphy
, President and General Secretary of the National Council of
Churches, African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). Bishop Vashti
Murphy McKenzie (

Other Readers and individuals present:

Fr. Nicolas Kazarian, an appointed Ecumenical Officer of the Greek
Archdiocese of America. Fr. Nicolas helped coordinate the event and its
invitations and served as Master of Ceremonies. He is also pastor at New
York City’s Saint Eleftherios Greek Orthodox Church, and a fellow Board
Member for Religions for Peace USA (RFPUSA) among other organizations.

Rev. Dr. Protopresbyter Nicolas Kazarian | St.Eleftherios Greek Orthodox Church

The Rt. Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche

Bishop Dietsche was installed as the 16th Bishop of New York on February 2, 2013
at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. Bishop Dietsche – Episcopal Diocese of New York ( In anticipation of his preparatory year that will begin his
retirement, Bishop Dietsche was cited for his extensive Ecumenical service, and awarded an Icon of St. Nicolas by the Greek Patriarch Elpidophoros.

The Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer (Episcopal)

Rev, Breyer is the Director of The Interfaith Center of New York, ICNY Staff | ICNY
Harvard grad, and author of The Close: A Young Woman’s First Year at Seminary

The Rev. Margaret Rose

Episcopal Church Deputy for Ecumenical and Interfaith Collaboration. Episcopal Church representative on the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches of Christ, Religions for Peace USA (RFPUSA) Episcopal – Lutheran Shared Ministries and other bodies. Living Interfaith: Interview with the Rev. Margaret Rose – Episcopal News Service Lutheran-Episcopal Shared Ministries | Episcopal Asset Map

Roman Catholic Bishop Robert J. Brennan, Brooklyn, NY

Robert J. Brennan – Wikipedia

Rev. Michael Lynch V.E.

Rev. Lynch is the Vicar for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Brooklyn

The Very Reverend Patrick Malloy, Ph.D.

Rev. Malloy is the Dean of the Cathedral Church of Saint John
the Divine, New York, NY, and pastor of the Congregation of Saint Saviour

Dean & Clergy – Cathedral of Saint John the Divine (

Members of the Chemin-Neuf Community,

Chemin-Neuf is establishing a New York City initiative for Ecumenical Relations among Young Adults in their 20’s in Autumn 2023 based at Saint John the Devine, New York. For information:

The Chemin Neuf Community – Chemin Neuf Community in the US (


[1] To get a sense of the beautiful iconography of the new Greek Orthodox Shrine in New York City, see  Iconography of Saint Nicholas | Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church ( Related articles:

Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church (

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Destroyed on Sept. 11, Reopens – The New York Times (

[2] Personal note: I first heard His Eminence speak and preside at the National Workshop on Christian Unity (NWCU) in Anaheim, CA last spring. I was inspired by his wisdom and eloquence then as now. 


How To Talk About the Holocaust in 2023

On Thursday January 26, 2023, I attended Remembering: Talking About the Holocaust in the 21st Century, a panel discussion co-sponsored by Fordham University and the Under-Told Stories Project of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, in partnership with the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. It was moderated by Fred de Sam Lazaro, director of the Under-Told Stories Project at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, a program that combines international journalism and teaching. He has served with the PBS NewsHour since 1985 and is a regular contributor and substitute anchor for PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. Fred de Sam Lazaro | Author | PBS NewsHour

If you would like to see the recorded video of the entire event, you may follow the link: WATCH: Talking about the Holocaust in the 21st century | PBS NewsHour

As an alternate, here is a text report from FORDHAM NEWS: At Holocaust Remembrance Event, Reimagining How to Retell a Vital Story (

HERE ARE MY TAKE-AWAYS:  are my take-aways with links for more information about each of the participants:

FOUR KEY Suggestions (with references) on How to discuss the Holocaust in conversations and in classes and seminars:

  1. Keep the stories of the HEROES among Jews and Jewish sympathizers, the “Righteous Ones,” in tandem with the facts of the Holocaust catastrophe, Nazi ideology, and humanity’s inhumanity. This imperative was presented by:
  • Professor Eva Paddock, Educator and Holocaust survivor, shared some of her personal story as one rescued from Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II.

At age 2, Eva was one among close to 700 youth whose parents authorized their emigration to England via train and ship to live safely in foster homes. Now known as “Winton’s Children,”  the heart-rending evacuation of mainly Czech and Slovak children for safety was organized by Sir Nicholas Winton, a 29-year-old British  Stockbroker between March and September 1939, in the

months leading up to the outbreak of World War II.  Winton’s parents were of German Jewish descent, and his deep foreboding regarding Nazi’s approaching Czechoslovakia, inspired him to organize eight trains for the Jewish children’s transportation out of the country.

  • In the interview, Professor Paddock also shared the extraordinary events that led to her father’s subsequent escape from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia –including the fact that he was actually assisted by a sympathetic SS Officer!

Book Recommendation: No Ordinary Men: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans von Dohnanyi, Resisters Against Hitler in Church and State by Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern No Ordinary Men: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans von Dohnanyi, Resisters Against Hitler in Church and State by Elisabeth Sifton | Goodreads

2. Yes, it is helpful to offer comparisons and distinctions of Holocaust history with other historical genocides, wars, and political travesties – Armenian Genocide in Turkey, Massacre of Albanians in the Balkan Wars, Rwanda, Stalin, etc. – while insisting on the unprecedented, unique facts of the Nazi “FINAL Solution.”  This emphasis articulated strongly by:

  • Magda Teter, Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies, Fordham University emphasized this point. She also spoke about her current project: Integrating Jewish History in General History

Microsoft Word – CV-Teter.doc (

Blood Libel — Magda Teter | Harvard University Press

3. It remains essential to include the Contexts of European Antisemitism in discussions and presentations of the Holocaust. Furthermore, include details on the origins of, and specifics of, Nazi ideology, the horror of eugenics, with concrete historical evidence of the prophetic signs of impending Nazi ascent. The panel was unanimous emphasizing these points, emphasized strongly by:

  • Professor James Loeffler, Jay Berkowitz Professor of Jewish History, University of Virginia

4. Regarding Antisemitism in America Today: The Charlottesville Riots of August 11, 2017, brought the contemporary eruption of Anti-Semitism into focus for the American public. As always, encourage critical thinking imbued with religious and social ethics.  Note that in Charlottesville, the behavior was not Holocaust denial, but rather, a resurrection Nazi ideology and symbols –including its propaganda methods were revoltingly on display. Note the rioters’ holding torches on August 11, 2017 – a deliberate imitation of Wagnerian opera and Nazi propaganda art direction:

For More on Charlottesville, see  What to know about the violent Charlottesville protests and anniversary rallies – ABC News (

Judy Woodruff, Anchor PBS NewsHour, who spoke of urgency in addressing the divisiveness and hate in the USA and elsewhere, with a special attention to the rise in Antisemitism. 

Judy Woodruff’s goodbye message to viewers as she departs NewsHour anchor desk | PBS NewsHour

Linda Kinstler, Author of Come to This Court and Cry: How the Holocaust Ends

Linda Kinstler’s new book: “Come to This Court and Cry” - Rhetoric ... 

Linda Kinstler — Come To This Court and Cry: How the Holocaust Ends – with Julia Ioffe – YouTube

COME TO THIS COURT & CRY | Kirkus Reviews