Pope “deeply saddened” over death of Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria

.- This morning Pope John Paul II sent a telegram to the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa expressing his sadness upon the death of Patriarch Petros VII of Alexandria in a plane crash, and remembering the “spiritual closeness” he shared with him:

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of His Beatitude Petros VII, patriarch of the illustrious See of Alexandria, whom the Lord has called to Himself together with Their Excellencies Metropolitans Irinaios of Pelusium and Chrysostomos of Karthagena, Bishop Nektarios of Madagascar, the patriarchal vicars of Athens and Cyprus, and several associates and family members.”

“The tragic death of Patriarch Petros VII during a journey to the Holy Mountain is a source of great sorrow and grief for the Orthodox sister Churches of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, for the Bishop of Rome and in the Catholic Church and for all those who esteemed the late patriarch's ministry to the Church in Africa and his commitment to Christian unity.”

“I myself recall with gratitude our fraternal exchanges of letters, our spiritual closeness, the participation of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria in significant events like the 'World Day of Prayer for World Peace' in Assisi in 2002, and his constructive contribution to theological dialogue in the Orthodox Churches as a whole and with the international mixed commission.”

“I pray that the Lord will grant 'grace upon grace' to His faithful servant and will welcome him and his earthly traveling companions into the eternal light and peace reserved for God's righteous ones. At the same time I beseech the spirit of wisdom to guide and sustain the Patriarchate of Alexandria at this time of sadness.”

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