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His Beatitude Christodoulos opened “a new era of warm cooperation” with Catholics



The Orthodox Archbishop of Athens has passed away

15/02/2008: Greece

The Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, His Beatitude Christodoulos, died on 27th January 2008. He was 69 years old. The personality of Archbishop Christodoulos is set in the history of ecumenism. Against the opinion of the political leaders of Greece, where the Orthodox Church is linked to the State, he received John Paul II when he visited Athens in May 2001, and he paid back the visit when he came to Rome in December 2006. These gestures opened a new era of warm cooperation between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church; the increased contacts and growing friendship have brought to the search for closer communion in the context of the growth of European unity.

Pope Benedict XVI, upon learning of his death, said that “Catholics around the world pray that the Orthodox Church of Greece will be sustained by the grace of God in continuing to build on the pastoral achievements of the late Archbishop and that in commending the noble soul of His Beatitude to our heavenly Father’s loving mercy you will be comforted by the Lord’s promise to reward his faithful servants”.
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, will preside over the funeral of the Archbishop this Thursday in the Cathedral of Athens. As representatives of the Holy See, Cardinal Paul Poupard, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Bishop Brian Farrell L.C., Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, will be present.

Archbishop Christodoulos was an alumni of the Marist brothers and he was bound to the Marists by a close friendship. For the celebration of the hundred years of the presence of the brothers in Greece, he presided over a solemn Mass in the Orthodox Cathedral in Athens.

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