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Archbishop's tribute to His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece

Wednesday 30th January 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury has paid tribute to His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos, the Archbishop of Athens, following his death on Monday. In a letter to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, the Archbishop said:

"Your Graces

It was with the greatest of sorrow that we learned of the repose of His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos after long months of exhausting illness.  We give God thanks for his ministry and witness; he has been a courageous spokesman for Christ and Christ's Church in Greece, but also more widely, and he has been a supportive and gracious friend to others in Christian leadership, among whom I am happy to include myself.  I look back with joy to the brief occasions when our paths have crossed.

As I wrote in a personal letter to His Beatitude last November, we in the Church of England deeply appreciate the way in which he opened the way towards fuller co-operation in the diaconal and missionary work of our churches.  We look forward to developing this partnership, though not, alas, with the inspiration and presence of His Beatitude in the flesh – though we confidently hope that he will still share our prayer and aspirations within the Body of Christ, which is not divided by death.

As you prepare for the election of new Archbishop, I am happy to send you every good wish and blessing in your task of discernment.  With my brother bishops here, I once again thank God for Archbishop Christodoulos, and promise for him as well as for you our daily prayers in the weeks ahead.

With the saints give him rest, O Christ.

May his memory be eternal!"

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