Tribute to pope paid by Greeks

As a book of condolences is opened in Athens today after the death of Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Christodoulos and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday led the way for Greeks paying tribute to the pontiff, with the latter calling him «a great among greats.» In a letter sent yesterday to Cardinal Angelo Soldano, the Vatican’s secretary of state, Karamanlis expressed his, and the Greek people’s, condolences to the Catholic Church after the announcement of the pope’s death on Saturday night. «John Paul II was able to overcome human weakness, thanks to his faith in God and his devotion to defending freedom and the dignity of man,» said the prime minister. Writing on behalf of the Church of Greece, its leader, Archbishop Christodoulos, said the pope had been «remarkably active» around the world and had successfully protected the standing of his church from various attacks. «A great pope, a great personality of Roman Catholicism, who was rightly described as a standard-bearer of freedom and human rights, has died,» said Christodoulos. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in Greece said yesterday that it is opening a book of condolences from today until Wednesday. Worshippers can pay their respects at the Vatican Consulate at 2 Mavilis Street in Palaio Psychico between 10 a.m. and noon and 5 and 7 p.m.

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