04 April, 2005
The President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias, on Sunday sent condolences to the Vatican following the death of Pope John Paul II.
"I wish to convey the grief felt by the Greek people and me personally, on announcement of the Pontiff's demise. This is a day of mourning for the Christian world and the international community," Papoulias said in a telegram.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis praised the late Pope as "great among the great" for his devotion to the defense of freedom, and for his sense of sacrifice, apparent even in his final stretch of illness and pain.
In Istanbul, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stated that the Pope's death was a loss for the whole of Christianity, and for moves to attain peace and justice around the world.
"We share in the mourning of millions of Roman Catholics around the world, our brothers," the patriarch said.
In Athens, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece described the late Pope as a major figure in Roman Catholicism, a flag bearer for freedom and human rights.
"With his astounding activity all over the planet, Pope John Paul II safeguarded the prestige of his Church, despite many kinds of attack, with zeal, resoluteness and respect for the traditions of Roman Catholicism," the archbishop added.
The leader of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement, George Papandreou, said that the pontiff had been an enlightened leader and proponent of human rights, also working to modernize the Catholic Church and attain rapprochement with Orthodox Christianity.
The Catholic Church of Greece announced that it would open a public book of condolences on Monday.
Source: Athens News Agency