GOARCH - May 14, 1998

Archbishop Spyridon Leads Procession
and Officiates at a Memorial Service in D.C.

WASHINGTON.--His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon today led a procession and officiated at a Memorial Service on Capitol Hill for Andrew Kassapis of Detroit, MI. Andrew Kassapis was a 17 year old American citizen who was in Cyprus during the summer of 1974, and had been missing for the past 24 years. His remains were recently discovered on Cyprus.

During the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, Andrew was one of five Americans captured by Turkish troops. The finding and identification of the remains were a result of legislation passed by the United States Congress with the direct purpose of asking the President to locate these five Americans.

The Kassapis family was notified that the remains of Andrew were identified on March 5, 1998, by the U.S. Department of State.

During the Memorial Service, His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon made the following remarks:

"The death of the man we remember today, Andrew Kassapis, was the result of wartime hostilities. In the midst of such carnage, there are other casualties that we mourn as well. Indeed, when a culture is trampled upon, we mourn the wound inflicted upon the spirit of an entire people. When a nation is divided, we mourn the rupture in the brotherhood of all nations. And when religious faith is persecuted, we mourn the loss of the religious rights that are the natural inheritance of human beings, all of whom have been created in the image of their Creator.

The death of Andrew Kassapis is a symbol of the threat to these religious rights, in fact to all human rights, that exists around the world today. As Americans, we are especially attuned to these rights, enshrined as they are in our very national psyche. What makes this moment especially poignant is that Andrew was one of us, an American, whose heart was inscribed with this same belief that such rights are inalienable."

Accompanying His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon at the Memorial Service which took place at the center steps of the East front of the Capitol Building were Costas Kassapis, Andrew's father and sister Irene Kassapis, and the following persons:

  • Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
  • Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. Andros Nicolaidis
  • The Deputy Chief of Missions of the Embassy of Greece
  • 12 Priests of the Washington, DC, Baltimore area
  • Two members of the Congress who introduced the "Missing in Cyprus" Bill
  • Congressman Elliot Engel (D-NY) Congressman John Porter (R-IL)
  • Congressman Ben Gilman (R-NY) - Chairman of the International Relations Com.
  • Co-Chairs of the Hellenic Caucus
  • Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

The event was organized by Andrew Manatos, Philip Christopher and Andrew Athens.

120 Greek Americans and Cypriot Americans from across the country and Cypriots from round the world also were present.

  May 14, 1998 ]