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His Beatitude Teoctist

Tribute by WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia

31 July 2007

It is with great sorrow that we have learned of the unexpected death of His Beatitude Teoctist, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, a beloved father of his people, a prominent Christian leader of our times and a committed friend of the ecumenical movement. Our sincere condolences go to the Romanian Orthodox Church and to the people of Romania. In thanking God for his life and ministry, we celebrate Patriarch Teoctist's 70 years of service to the Church, which he rendered with commitment and great responsibility. At the age of 13, he entered the monastic life; under three different political regimes he has served his church and people: for more than 70 years as hierarch, and for more than 20 years as Patriarch. During the oppressive communist regime in particular, confronted with severe challenges and hardships, His Beatitude proved to be a providential leader as he knew how to shepherd his church and his flock with wisdom so as to keep it alive and vigorous. After the fall of communism, His Beatitude succeeded in maintaining the unity of his people and of the church, and in reorienting it towards new horizons.

His departure is a great loss for the ecumenical family, as well. His Beatitude was a sincere and effective promoter of ecumenical relations. The search for the unity of the church came to be the credo of his life and action. Apart from his participation in and support of the work of WCC, CEC and other international ecumenical organizations, His Beatitude has intensified the ecumenical encounters at the local and national levels. Theological students and professors continued to be sent abroad to study in Catholic and Protestant universities. The mutual visits with Orthodox and other Christian leaders continued during this period. As a result, the Romanian Orthodox Church, under Patriarch Teoctist's leadership, has continued to offer its undiminished support of and contribution to the modern ecumenical movement until the present day.

His memory is deeply engraved in the history of the ecumenical movement.  And his committed ministry will continue to inspire and guide others who are looking for meaningful service to the church and to people in difficult contexts and situations.

As we pay tribute to the exemplary ministry of this faithful servant of the Lord, we pray to God that His Beatitude Teoctist may be granted eternal rest in God's kingdom in the company of all His saints and witnesses and that the Romanian Orthodox Church and people may be empowered with spiritual strength and courage to continue his work and service.

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia

General Secretary