Tributes have been paid to Archbishop Christodoulos, the head of Greece’s powerful Orthodox Church, who has died aged 69. His death was announced just months after a planned liver transplant was cancelled, when doctors discovered the cancer he had been suffering from had spread.
As his body lies in state in the capital, flags flew at half-mast. The Archbishop was hailed as “an enlightened church leader” by Greece’s Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The way he dealt with his illness and imminent death sent “a unique message of courage and dignity,” according to Greek President Karolos Papoulias.
Archbishop Christodoulos was often seen on the world stage. But he was no stranger to controversy or outspoken remarks, and his growing public involvement in foreign policy issues chipped away at his popularity.
Meetings with Pope Benedict and Pope John-Paul also angered some ultra-Orthodox members of his Church.