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Archbishop Christodoulos passes away, four-day mourning announced

christodoulos-pased-away.jpg  A four-day period of mourning was announced on Monday following the death of Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, who passed away at dawn at the age of 69 following a 7-month battle with cancer.The Interior ministry announced that all public service buildings would fly flags at half-mast, while public services and schools would remain closed on the day of the late Archbishop’s funeral.The ministry further announced that the funeral would be held with full honors of Head of State at Athens’ First Cemetery, and at State expenditure.The body of the Archbishop will lie in state for three days at the Athens Cathedral’s chapel.  

Papoulias, Karamanlis, Papandreou 

President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, prime minister Costas Karamanlis, main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, and prefectural and municipal leaders early Monday expressed grief over the death of the Archbishop.In a message, President Papoulias paid tribute to the late Archbishop as an “outstanding Hierarch with a rich and multi-faceted contribution, who, with his inexhaustible energy, struggled for a vibrant and fighting Church”.Papoulias said that the Archbishop “touched us deeply with his attitude on his illness and death, sending a unique message of courage and dignity”.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”.Karamanlis said that the late Archbishop’s  “candour, simplicity, tenacity and love for Greece constitute invaluable lessons for our Church’s faithful“, and “the courage and fortutude he displayed throughout the difficult hours of his personal battle touch the hearts of all of us”.Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou expressed his deepest grief, paying tribute to the late Archbishop as “one of the most important figures of the Church of Greece, a spiritual leader with prestige, religious conviction, and rich social action.“A fighter and a scholar, he left his own mark on the Church he served with devotion, deep passion and diligence,” Papandreou said, adding that he was a charimatic man with whom one enjoyed discussing, even when they disagreed.Papandreou said that even the ordeal with his health did not break him but, instead, he remained standing to the end, sending a powerful message of courage, bravery and dignity. 

Prime minister pays respects to late Archbishop

 Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived at the chapel of the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral shortly after 14:00 on Monday, accompanied by his wife Natasha, to pay their respects to the late Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, whose body has been laid out in state within.Their example was followed by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou and by a number of politicians and prominent figures of the arts and letters but mainly by crowds of ordinary Orthodox faithful that formed long queues outside the Church, defying the cold, for a chance to pay their respects to the body of the archbishop.

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