The Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Passed Away

ХристодулHis Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Christodoulos, head of the Greek Orthodox Church passed away at the age of 69, on the 28th of January, at 6 o' clock in the morning (Greek time). Following a seven months battle with cancer, he died at his residence.

The funeral service will be officiated at the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral on Thursday, at 10 o' clock. The mortal remains of the late Archbishop will then be buried at the 1st Athens Cemetary with full honors of Head of State.

Representatives of all Orthodox Churches are expected to attend the funeral service. Very Rt. Rev. Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Coastlands Amfilohije will represent the Serbian Orthodox Church, while the Ohrid Archiepiscopy will be represented by the Archbishop of Ohrid and the Metropoly of Skoplje, Jovan.

ХристодулGreek Prime minister Costas Karamanlis expressed grief over the passing away of the Archbishop, "the enlightened Hierarch who, with his pastoral work, brought the Church closer to society and the modern-day problems, closer to the youth and their anxieties...The religious leader who strengthened the role of Orthodoxy in the world".

Since the body of the late Archbishop is already lying in state at the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral's chapel, worshippers of the Greek Church will be able to pray and bid their farewell to their Protohierarch until Thursday.

His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos (Χριστόδουλος, meaning Servant of Christ) , was born as Christos Paraskevaidis (Χρήστος Παρασκευαΐδης) on the 16th of January, 1939, in Xanthi, a city in Northern Greece.

In 1962 he graduated from the School of Law and in 1967 from the School of Theology. In 1961 he was ordained a deacon and a priest in 1965. He served as a preacher and senior spiritual father at the parish of Assumption of the Virgin Mary at Palaio Phalero, Athens, for nine years, and, for seven years he served as a Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod. He has received "Honoris Causa" Doctorates from the University of Craiova and the University of Iasi.

He was elected Metropolitan in 1974 and for the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece in 1998.

He was a Doctor of Theology, he had a degree in French and English, and he also spoke Italian and German. He is the author of many scientific and pastoral books.

Archbishop Christodoulos played a leading role against the NATO aggression against Serbia in 1999.