Memory Eternal: Pope Petros & his companions
It is 10 years since Pope Petros and his companions died in a helicopter crash in the Aegean Sea near Mount Athos on 11 September 2004.
The spiritual leader of Greek Orthodox Christians in Africa has died in a helicopter crash off northern Greece.
Patriarch Petros VII of Alexandria was going to a monastic community on Mount Athos for a religious event.
Sixteen other people were killed in the crash.
and I have even, for the first time, managed to find a complete obituary published in an English-language newspaper:
His Beatitude Petros VII , who died in a helicopter accident on Saturday aged 55, was the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, namely the head of the Eastern or Greek Orthodox Church in Africa; by tradition, he was the 128th successor in that office to St Mark the Evangelist.
Petros had taken charge in 1997 of a see much diminished in size and importance since its heyday during the first four centuries of the Christian Church, when from Byzantium to Seville the faithful were united and followed a common rite. At the Council of Nicaea in 325, where the Creed was formulated, the three centres of the religion were deemed to be Rome, Alexandria and Antioch – the greatest cities of the Roman Empire – with Alexandria supreme in the East.Like the Bishop of Rome, who held a particular place of honour but did not outrank his coevals, Alexandria’s Patriarch was called a Pope; his other honorific titles included Shepherd of Shepherds, Thirteenth Apostle, and Judge of the World. (Read the rest here).
And I have even, for the first time since the crash, managed to find some news reports mentioning some of the others who died in the crash. Perhaps Google search is more efficienct than it was in 2004.
Before becoming a bishop Pope Petros served as a parish priest in Johannesburg and was known to many here in South Africa as a loving pastor.
An Australian senior cleric of the Greek Orthodox Church is among 17 victims of a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of the church’s spiritual leader in Africa, the Patriarch of Alexandria, Peter VII.
The group was heading for the Mount Athos monastery in northern Greece, one of the holiest sites in Orthodox Christianity, in a Greek Army helicopter when it disappeared from radar screens.
Archdeacon Sophronius Konidaris, personal deacon to Archbishop Stylianos, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, yesterday paid tribute to the Australian, Bishop Nektarios of Madagascar, whom he described as a humble cleric and pioneer missionary.
“We are all very shocked by his death. He was very placid, a very unassuming, very loving man who dedicated his life to the people of Madagascar. He had an established life here, was an ordained cleric serving in the Gold Coast and mostly Adelaide, but he chose to leave everything to go to Madagascar.