Astoria, NY Street Co-Named In Honor of Archbishop Iakovos


Archbishop Iakovos, who led the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America for 37 years from 1959 to 1996 now has a street named in his memory and honor.

A bill in the City Council, introduced by Councilmember Costa Constantinides (D–Astoria), naming 33rd Street between Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue after Archbishop Iakovos, passed in January.

The ceremony took place on March 28th, complete with the Greek Presidential Guard, or Evzones, present.

He was also a vocal supporter of the civil-rights movement and showed that support by marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders in Selma, AL in 1965. In recognition of his role as a spiritual leader, President Carter awarded Archbishop Iakovos with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980. Iakovos died in 2005 at the age of 93.


Constantinides said, “I am proud to recognize Archbishop Iakovos’ contribution to our city with this street co-naming. He serves as a great role model for this community. Archbishop Iakovos took a courageous stand for freedom by marching with Dr. King in Selma, one of the few non-African-American leaders to do so. Even though his advisers cautioned him against expressing his support of the civil-rights movement, he did what he knew was important. He symbolized freedom to our Greek Orthodox community and to everyone this city.”

State Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said, “Archbishop Iakovos was a national spiritual leader and an integral part of the Greek-American community. It is appropriate that a street will bear his name in a neighborhood that was so affected by his good works. From marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. to earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Archbishop Iakovos made the world a better place, and we can all learn from his example.”

“Archbishop Iakovos was a symbol of courage and conviction, not only for those of the Greek-Orthodox faith, but for all Americans,” said Assembly Member Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria). “At a time when many were silent, the Archbishop marched against hatred and oppression. It is truly fitting that we honor him ahead of the fiftieth anniversary of the Archbishop and Reverend King’s civil rights march on Selma.”



  1. Stacey Harris-Papaioannou on

    What a wonderful way to honor such an inspiring spiritual leader. Thank you for getting this story–and so many other “Good Greek News” stories out there as well. Upon seeing the photo with the official name I couldn’t help wonder how the official name would eventually get shortened in daily use. My favorite story about his Eminence goes back to my days in Chicago circa mid-80s, before moving to Mykonos permanently. At the time I was very active with my parish as a council member and in the diocese, even attending a few annual conventions. Back then I was heavily involved in communication and media production as we targeted stewardship campaigns. Consequently there was a lot of correspondence my parish priest and I had to send to HQ in both Chicago and NYC. Whenever letters would go to the Bishops-at that time they were both Iakouvos-we would refer to them as THE YIAK; to distinguish them the BIG YIAK and the Little YIAK. I couldn’t help but giggle when I considered they might steal the moniker Father Jim and I used for the bishops and call it the “YIAK Way.”

  2. Jerry Vasilatos on

    Every year as a teen and young adult I would attend the Agape service on Pascha at St. Demetrios Church (now Cathedral) in Astoria where Archbishop Iakovos would officiate. I would make sure to receive my red egg and blessing from him rather than the many bishops and priests also distributing them. My godmother Alexandra Margarites was a close friend of the Archbishop, and he officiated at her funeral in later years. May his memory be eternal and thank you Councilmember Constantinides for your work towards honoring this great leader.

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