Hundreds of church leaders and foreign diplomats crowded the tiny church of St. George in?
Hundreds of church leaders and foreign diplomats crowded the tiny church of St. George in Instanbul on Tuesday (II July) for four hours of funeral services for the Ecumenical patriarch Athenagoras.
The 86-year-old Patriarch dies on Friday after 23 years in office. He was the spiritual leader of 250 million followers of Orthodox Churches around the world.
Patriarch Athenagoras worked to restore the authority of his office, and church leader say he had a great deal of success.
One of those attending the funeral service was the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsey, who has described Athenagoras as a man of courage and charity who took a creative role in the cause of Christian unity.
The Vatican was represented by Cardinal Willebrands, and the World Council of Churches by its head, Dr. Eugene Blake.
After the service, the Patriarch's body was buried near the walls of ancient Constantinople beside the tombs of fourteen earlier Patriarchs.
SYNOPSIS: Church leaders from around the world on Tuesday filed past the coffin of the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in the church of St. George in Istanbul. Among them was the Archbishop of Canterbury who had described the Patriarch as a man of courage and charity who took a creative role in the cause of Christian unity.
The services lasted four hours. The 86-year-old Patriarch died last Friday after twenty-three years in office. In that time he successfully went some way towards re-establishing the authority of the office. Patriarch Athenagoras was the spiritual leader of two hundred and fifty million follower of orthodox faiths around the world. With church leaders at the service were diplomats from many countries--and local churchmen.
A chance for laymen to pay their last respects to Patriarch Athenagoras.
On top of the coffin, the Patriarch's crown of office.
Crowds of people clustered around the entrance to the church as the coffin was carried out by priests of the Orthodex Church. Later, the Patriarch was to be buried near the walls of ancient Constantinople. His grave lies beside the tombs of fourteen earlier Patriarchs at the site of one of the great monasteries of medieval Byzantium.