Elogium - 17 September 2004 (English)
“Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10)
By His Eminence Dionysios, Metropolitan of Leontopolis (Ismailya & Suez)
It is with profoundly shattered emotions, and pain, that we are here today before the venerable relics of Petros VII of Blessed Memory, the Primate of the Alexandrian Church, to address the final greeting due to him.
It is a painful obligation today for the speaker to have to read the eulogy to the Blessed Prelate of the Throne of the most glorious Apostle and Evangelist Mark.
It is genuinely painful, for I met him when he was still young, as a Deacon whom I accepted into the service of the Patriarchal Vicarage in Cairo and surrounded him with Paternal love and esteem.
This painful event of the tragic accident which occurred is truly distressing. What should we say now and what should we add? What should we say, we who stand and mourn the unexpected death of our Patriarch, his passing to the Lord? What more can we think in our sorrow other than that: the will of the Most High is unfathomable, sorrowing people of the Lord?
The towering oak of the Alexandrian Church, with the spreading of its spiritual shady branches of his love and his Patriarchal blessing throughout the entire African continent, has fallen.
The Most Ancient Church of Alexandria mourns and laments for the loss of her Prelate for he left an irreplaceable and indescribable pain in our hearts.
Our Venerable Primate, we the venerable body of the Eminent Hierarchs and the other honourable clergy also mourn Your loss, for we came to know you as a kind-natured Patriarch. Those who came to know him in our beloved Greece and elsewhere also mourn.
You stood out, Blessed Master, for Your simplicity, Your dignity, Your love for us all.
You stood out, unforgettable Master, for Your clear thinking, Your discreet subtlety and Your Ecclesiastical conscience.
Your were adorned with many virtues and rich spiritual gifts, which brought you love and respect from near and far.
Your personality encompassed an honest man, conscientious, a zealot, polite and sincere, a leading Orthodox Primate of our time.
Your lofty sense of responsibility and Your continuous concern as well as Your clear thinking, for the solution of the various problems of our Church, were inconceivable. Your unusual and exemplary energy for the reconstruction of our Patriarchate, as well as your continuous promotion of Orthodoxy in Africa, touched us and inspired us.
We often told Your, unforgettable Master, that “You are running too fast and we have no time to catch up with you” and Your reply was as follows: “Time is also passing quickly and we cannot catch up with it”.
Your seven-year Patriarchal life was prolific and blessed. Your works of love were many and splendid. However Your path was not entirely strewn with flowers, but was also full of efforts, labours and sacrifices. You often had to confront difficulties and storms. You always confronted them with composure, though, having faith and hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom you drew strength for the continuation of you lofty works, thus opening new pathways in our Patriarchate.
We ought to confess sincerely that you left us with a new era. You brought a new breath into the Church of the Alexandrians. Truly, you were an example to us all. An example of a sterling character and an upright conscience, the living example of love.
You dedicated the strength of Your youth to the service of our Lord and to the service of the People of God.
You were young, vigorous and full of great desire for action. You placed Yourself in service for the spreading of Orthodoxy and the good of our Patriarchate. However, you were not able to taste the expected fruit of Your blessed energetic mission. You will now, though, taste of Your Divine reward in heaven, because you were faithful to the end of your life.
Go now and walk the path of the Blessed ones and receive the eminent seat which you deserve together with the unforgettable great Patriarchs, Archbishops and Hierarchs of Orthodoxy so that you too may have the crown of life which the Lord will give you.
Your flock that mourns for you will unceasingly hold Your memory and will turn its attention to its responsibilities with discretion, prayer and fear of God for the search of Your worthy successor, an able and faithful man, full of anxiety and a fighting spirit for the various issues of our Church and who will deign to ascend the difficult ranks of the Patriarchal Throne of Alexandria to uphold it and to bring it to a high level, according to the current circumstances and conditions.
Most Blessed and unforgettable Patriarch, we promise You that we will all remember You with much love and respect. May Your memory be eternal.