Across the globe Martin Luther King Jr, hero and martyr of the Civil Rights movement, is venerated for his inspirational leadership in his stand against racial discrimination. Now however, one Christian communion is about to officially pronounce him to be a Saint.
Dr King was nominated for sainthood in June 2013 by the Holy Christian Orthodox Church, which claims a membership of 4 million churches across the world.
On Friday September 9 at 6pm, the HCOC Patriarch, Archbishop Timothy Paul, will gather together with several other leaders for the "glorification" of the late Dr King. The ceremony will include the unveiling of Dr King's official icon, and will mark the beginning of his inclusion into All Saints Day celebrations in HCOC calendars across the globe.
The HCOC, which is also known as the Communion of Churches, has roots in Catholic, Evangelical, and Pentecostal branches of Christianity. It follows the Eastern Orthodox tradition of canonisation followed by glorification, which differs from that of the Roman Catholic Church, where canonisation is followed by beatification. His official icon depicts Dr King in a setting echoing a police mugshot: he holds his prisoner number across his chest and the bars behind his figure represent his incarceration. The Greek inscription by his head reads, "Holy Martin."
Archbishop Paul said of him: "Dr King was Catholic because he inspired the universal Church, he was evangelical because of his Baptist roots, and he was charismatic. The Roman Catholic Church cannot make him a saint because he was not a Roman Catholic. But our church body, which has full apostolic succession, can present him to the entire Christian faith to be venerated on April 4, the date of his assassination."