The Archbishop of Athens and All Hellas died Cyrus Christodoulos. He suffered from liver cancer and consciously refused hospitalization. Now the Greek Orthodox Church will have to survive the choice of a new archbishop.
The head of the Greek Orthodox Church died. Archbishop of Athens and All Hellas Cyrus Christodoulus died at the age of 69 from liver cancer in his house in Athens. The archbishop was diagnosed last June. Then, in addition to colon cancer operated on in Athens, a patient was found to have a four-centimeter cancer tumor in the liver complicated by hepatitis, cirrhosis and diabetes.
Five months ago, Khristodul underwent an unsuccessful liver transplant operation, after which he refused hospitalization and expressed a desire to stay at home.
In recent weeks, the archbishop still deliberately refused to move to the hospital. His condition worsened sharply. An official press release distributed last Thursday by the Holy Synod said: in the newsletter on the health status of Christodulus, received by the Secretary of the Synod, Kirill Misiakulis, from the attending physicians, there was a significant deterioration in the condition of the archbishop. Doctors decided to use intravenous therapy in order to enhance the analgesic effect of the drugs. The archbishop noticeably weakened, experienced bouts of severe pain and often fell into oblivion. The first attending physician Andreas Dzakis from the American Oncology Clinic in Miami came to Christodoulou, but he did not help either. On Monday, the archbishop passed away.
According to Greek state television, the body of the archbishop was transported from his home to a hospital in Athens, where the necessary procedures will be carried out. Later, the body of the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church will be put up for farewell for three days in the cathedral of Athens. On the fourth, the body of the archbishop with state honors will be interred.
The Archbishop’s funeral day in Greece has been declared a day off, state institutions and schools will be closed, and national flags will be lowered throughout the country.
The hierarch’s funeral is expected to be attended by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem.
Christodoulos, one of the most popular people in Greece, led the Greek Orthodox Church for 10 years. He was born in 1939 in Xanfi (Greece). He graduated from the law and theological faculties of the University of Athens, in 1961 he was ordained a deacon, and in 1965 – a presbyter. For nine years, Christodoulus obeyed the preacher and confessor in the Church of the Assumption of the Mother of God in Old Faliron (Athens), then – Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. In July 1974 he was consecrated bishop with the title Metropolitan Dimitriad; on April 28, 1998, he was elected Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church by the Archbishop of Athens and All Hellas. Archbishop Christodoulos had a doctorate in theology, received a graduate diploma from the University of Athens at the Department of French and English Philology; He is the author of a large number of books of a scientific and theological and moral character.
The archbishop actively defended the right of the church to speak out on social issues, called members of the Finnish rock band “Lordi”, who won Eurovision 2006, “monsters” and “Satanists” and accused Europe of betraying Christianity.
Recently, he was elected a laureate of the prize of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Peoples and intended in January 2008 to visit Moscow at the invitation of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II to participate in the award ceremony. But due to health reasons, Christodoulos failed to perform many traditional solemn rites of the Orthodox Church, as well as to visit the hospitals of the city, which were always listed in the New Year’s program of the archbishop. For him, this ceremony was carried out by Protopresbyter Thomas Synodinos.
In 2008, Christodulus addressed his flock through a recorded speech in which, in particular, he mentioned that the great feast of the Nativity of Christ was directed directly to our souls, and that Jesus was not a folklore or mythological character.
Christmas carols in the archbishop’s house were performed by folk groups of Cretan and Pontic societies.
Throughout January, the home of Archbishop Christodoulos was visited by Greek politicians: Minister of Justice Sotiris Hadzidakis, Minister of Health Dimitris Avramopoulos. A week ago, the archbishop was visited by the chairman of the Greek parliament, Dimitris Syufas, who conveyed to him the wishes of a speedy recovery from the deputies and workers of the parliament. The conversation lasted about 15 minutes. Among the guests were those politicians who previously expressed dissatisfaction with, in their opinion, the high public activity of the Primate of the Church of Greece.
Alexy II sent a message to the archbishop last month, in which he praised his work, which is “a true example of the priestly and peacekeeping ministry,” and assured his prayers about the recovery of his fellow man. “I know firsthand how difficult it is to come to terms with difficult life circumstances, how difficult it is to accept all sent trials without grumbling, how long the days of illness last,” the Primate of the Russian Church also said.
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