|Representing His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN, His Grace, Bishop SERAPHIM of Ottawa and Canada greets His Beatitude, THEODOROS II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa on Saturday, October 23, 2004.|
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT [OCA Communications]—His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada and Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA chancellor, represented His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman at the enthronement of His Beatitude, Theodoros II as the new Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa here Saturday and Sunday, 23-24, 2004.
Bishop Seraphim and Father Kondratick, accompanied by Mr. John Mindala, Assistant to the Chancellor for Communications, joined representatives of the world’s autocephalous Orthodox Churches, heads of states, and over 2000 faithful from Africa, Europe and elsewhere at the Enthronement Divine Liturgy, which took place at the patriarchal cathedral in Alexandria. The Liturgy was followed by a reception honoring the newly-enthroned Patriarch. On the eve of the Liturgy, they attended the Vigil and a reception for foreign dignitaries.
The OCA delegation arrived in Cairo on Friday, October 22. The following day they had a private audience with Patriarch Theodoros, who expressed great interest in strengthening ties with the Orthodox Church in America and extended an invitation to Metropolitan Herman to visit his Church. The Patriarchate of Alexandria was among the many Churches represented at the enthronement of Metropolitan Herman in September 2002. Father Kondratick and other OCA representatives had been slated to meet with the late Patriarch Petros in November 2004 until news of his untimely death was received.
Elected by members of the patriarchate’s Holy Synod on October 9, 2004, just one month after the Orthodox world was shaken by news that His Beatitude, Pope and Patriarch Petros VII had perished in a September 11 helicopter crash en route to Mount Athos, the new patriarch formerly served as the Metropolitan of Zimbabwe.
Born in Crete in 1954, Patriarch Theodoros graduated from the Theological Faculty of the University of Thessalonica. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1975 and served as archdeacon and chancellor of the Archdiocese of Lambis and Skafia. He was ordained to the priesthood three years later. In 1985 he was appointed the Patriarchate’s Exarch in Odessa. After his consecration to the episcopacy in 1990, he was appointed Bishop of Cyrene and served as the representative of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Athens. In 1997 he was named Patriarchal Vicar in Alexandria and, in September of the same year, he was elected Archbishop of Cameroon. In October 2002, he was elected Archbishop of Zimbabwe.
Patriarch Petros, who perished with 16 other individuals, including five other hierarchs and clergy and eleven others, was buried on September 15 at the Patriarchal Monastery of Saint George in old Cairo, Egypt.
Within hours of receiving the news of the Patriarch’s death, Metropolitan Herman celebrated a Memorial at Saint Sergius Chapel at the OCA Chancery.
“Patriarch Petros was one of the first primates of the sister Orthodox Churches to designate a representative, His Grace, Bishop Georgios of Nilopolis, to participate in Metropolitan Herman’s enthronement,” Father Kondratick said. “Relations between the OCA and the Alexandrian Patriarchate were extremely cordial, especially with regard to regular contacts between the Churches’ External Affairs and Communications departments.
“On behalf of Metropolitan Herman and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops, we call upon the faithful of our Church to pray for Patriarch Petros and those who perished with him,” Father Kondratick added. “May their memory be eternal!”
While in Cairo, Bishop Seraphim, Father Kondratick and Mr. Mindala also met with His Holiness, Pope Shenouda of the Coptic Church, and prayed at the grave of the late Patriarch Petros in the crypt of Saint George Monastery.
Click here for photos from the Enthronement of His Beatitude, Patriarch Theodoros II.