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Outside St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Waukegan at a news conference addressing vandalism of the church, which occurred the same night as a similar incident at a nearby mosque. From left are Imam Matthew Ramadan of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, Rev. James Gordon of Ascension of Our Lord Greek Orthodox Church in Lincolnshire, Bishop Demetrios (center) of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis, Rev. Cosmas Halekakis, pastor at St. Demetrios and Rev. Sotirios Malamis (partially hidden), of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Des Plaines. (Chris Walker, Chicago Tribune / February 19, 2014)

Outside St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Waukegan at a news conference addressing vandalism of the church, which occurred the same night as a similar incident at a nearby mosque. From left are Imam Matthew Ramadan of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, Rev. James Gordon of Ascension of Our Lord Greek Orthodox Church in Lincolnshire, Bishop Demetrios (center) of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis, Rev. Cosmas Halekakis, pastor at St. Demetrios and Rev. Sotirios Malamis (partially hidden), of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Des Plaines. (Chris Walker, Chicago Tribune / February 19, 2014)

The Reverend Clergy and Faithful
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago

Beloved in the Lord,

We have learned that sometime in the evening of this past Sunday (Feb. 16) or the early hours of Monday morning, our beloved parish of Saint Demetrios in Libertyville, IL, was subjected to vandalism in the form of obscene graffiti.  Likewise, the neighboring Islamic Foundation North, an Islamic cultural center and mosque, was vandalized in the same manner.  In both these instances, the vandals disparaged the faith of those who worshipped in these two communities.  

Upon learning of this incident, we have issued the statement below, and together with the Imam of Islamic Foundation North, sought to bring this hateful crime to the attention of the greater community.  We are deeply grateful to stand with our Muslim friends against such clear signs of religious intolerance and bigotry, even as elsewhere in the world Christian and Muslim communities experience increasing strife.

Furthermore, as the Imam and our Chancellor, His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos assembled with civil authorities at a press conference, we learned that numerous other houses of faith and worship in the Libertyville, Waukegan and Gurnee areas experienced the same vandalism.  This indicates that the perpetrators were deliberate in targeting communities of faith, and warns us that we must always stand as witnesses to our faith in the Lord against such powers aligned with darkness, prejudice and evil.

We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ, through His mercy and love for all, will turn the hearts of those who would seek to denigrate all persons of faith by such an act, and will strengthen His faithful to be ever vigilant witness to His love and glory.

With Paternal Blessings,

Metropolitan IAKOVOS of Chicago

Click here for the official letter and statement.