Orthodox leader with a lifelong passion for Christian unity, justice, and peace
(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has expressed sincere condolences to the Ecumenical Patriarchate following the death of His Eminence Metropolitan Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima who died on 1 June. The Orthodox leader had spent more than fifty years working to further the cause of Christian unity.
“With great gratitude we remember the many fraternal meetings and fruitful theological discussions with Metropolitan Gennadios at the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Theological Commission, where he always guided the dialogue and directed it on the journey towards the fulfillment of Christ’s prayer that 'all may be one,'” said LWF General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt. “We thank God Almighty for richly blessing the spiritual ministry of our brother in the ecumenical communion of churches.”
Metropolitan Gennadios was “a faithful witness of the rich Orthodox theological tradition who kept the vision of Christian unity at all times. Even in our last Zoom conversation a few weeks ago, he was deeply concerned that the work of the Joint Commission bear fruit for the church in the world,” noted LWF Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations, Prof. Dr Dirk Lange.
Leadership with WCC
A professor of Orthodox theology and canon law, Metropolitan Gennadios served on many ecumenical bodies and was well known for his leadership with the World Council of Churches (WCC). He served as a steward at the WCC’s 4th Assembly in Uppsala in 1968, going on to become Vice-Moderator of its Faith and Order Commission, a member of its Executive Committee and Vice-Moderator of its Central Committee.
Besides being co-secretary of the international Catholic-Orthodox dialogue and co-chairman of the preparatory committees for theological dialogue with Methodist and Baptist churches, Metropolitan Gennadios served as co-chair of the Lutheran-Orthodox Joint Theological Commission. “Metropolitan Gennadios was a very careful scholar of common Orthodox and Lutheran dogmatic statements, therefore the theological work in the sessions was very intense and productive,” said Bishop Johann Schneider, the Lutheran co-chair of the commission.
The author of hundreds of books, articles and theological studies, Metropolitan Gennadios, was also a member of the Conference of European Churches Central Committee from 2003 to 2013. He received honorary doctorates from the University of Athens, Greece, and the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA.
Tributes to the life and legacy of Metropolitan Gennadios have been sent by leaders from across the Christian world and beyond. His funeral will take place in Greece.