Greek Orthodox Patriarch dies in helicopter crash

 The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and all of Africa, died on Saturday with 16 others, when his helicopter crashed into the Aegean Sea, on a flight from Athens to the monastic community on Mount Athos. His body was recovered from the sea yesterday. Several other victims are still missing. In a telegram sent to the Holy Synod of the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, Pope John Paul II and the entire Catholic Church expressed "great sorrow and affliction" for the tragic death of the Patriarch and all those with him'. Pope John Paul II remembered: "our fraternal exchange of messages" and the participation of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in significant events, such as the Day of Prayer for world peace" in Assisi in 2002, but also the "constructive contribution" given to dialogue in the mixed Commission. The Pope also assured his prayers for all the deceased. The Metropolitan of Italy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Costantinopoli, Gennadios Zervos, said on Vatican Radio: "It is really a great loss for the Orthodox world and his Church; the Patriarch Petros VII had a great personality and was always a supporter of Christian messages on peace, justice, liberty and human rights. He was a great collaborator of His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch of Costantinopoli, Bartholomew I, particularly on the issue fo Christian unity, for which he shared the messages and initiatives of Pope John Paul II, for whom he served as a great apostle." The cause of the crash of the Chinook helicopter, is not yet known. The Greek air forces chief, General Panayotis Papanikolau, resigned because there were delays in the rescue operations. Source: MISNA

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