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from issue no. 04 - 2004

Memories of Greece

The gratitude of the Orthodox towards Paul VI

by Gianni Cardinale

«I remember that in the summer of 1978, during a lesson of modern Greek on the campus of the University of Athens, a professor came into the great hall to announce the death of Paul VI. During those days Greek television gave a lot of space to the event, showing entire the funeral of the Pope…
The many names and faces of friends who welcomed me with charity and nobility are present in many episodes, that I collected in a diary of my stay in Salonika. Among the many, I remember a meeting on 8 July 1979 with Archbishop Athenagoras of Tiatira and Great Britain, who, sent suddenly to Rome by Patriarch Athenagoras the Great, told me of the extraordinary audience held in the Vatican in December1963, to re-establish relations between the Holy See and the Fanari and above all to defend the very existence of the patriarchate of Constantinople. He showed all his enthusiasm and all his gratitude toward Paul VI, both for the fatherly reception and for the positive result of the mission, that had seemed to him, if not impossible, desperate. The metropolitan, in fact, in his writings had been one of the theologians most contrary to the primacy of the Pope of Rome».
The two passages quoted come from the fine interview granted by Archbishop Angelo Amato to his fellow Salesian Don Enrico dal Covolo, today Postulator General of the Salesian family, and published in the magazine Ricerche Teologiche (2/ 2002, pp. 469-478).

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