A funeral was held for George Zapantis on Monday, June 29, where His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros gave the eulogy himself in the midst of family and friends of the young man, who died in police custody recently.
The service comes days after dozens of Greek-Americans gathered outside the home of the Zapantis family in order to hold a vigil and demand justice for George, who died on June 21 after suffering from cardiac arrest after police tasered him.
The funeral took place at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Whitestone, New York, the same neighborhood where the family lives.
During the service, Archbishop Elpidophoros addressed both the family and friends of Zapantis during his eulogy, saying “Today, we hear the cry of a mother, a mother unjustly deprived of her son, a mother whose heart is rent in two, a mother who has come to the Church of the Holy Cross upon which the Son of the Theotokos died, to bury her son. To mourn her son. To grieve her son.”
The Archbishop addressed Athanasia Zapantis, George’s mother, throughout the speech. Elpidophoros assured her that she was in the presence of loving family and friends.
The Archbishop also brought up the importance of justice and standing up for what is right. In his eulogy, as well as in previous statements he had made, His Eminence made it clear that he regards the killing of Zapantis as inexcusable.
During his speech to the family, he further emphasized this by saying “we are in the midst of our American society that has been rocked by the very kind of abuse that brings us around George’s coffin today. And there is no justice in this moment as we pray for God’s mercy upon his soul, as we pray for comfort for Athanasia, a mother bereft of her son.”
In addition to with announcing that he would personally preside over the funeral proceedings, Archbishop Elpidophoros also said that he would cover the expenses of the service.
The complete eulogy that was given by the Archbishop at the Zapantis funeral can be found at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s website.