I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of His Beatitude, Teoctist, Patriarch of Romania since 1986, the spiritual father of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Throughout his long life he served the Orthodox Church and the people of Romania, witnessing to the deep-rooted Christian culture of the Romanian people.
When I visited him in Bucharest only a few weeks ago, I was received with his characteristic graciousness, and was able to have an encouraging theological exchange with him about the relations between our churches. He reminded me at the outset that as long ago as 1935 the Romanian Orthodox Church had recognised Anglican orders, and he expressed his clear wish to see the renewal of constructive dialogue between us with definite plans and measurable achievements, in order that Anglican relations with the Romanian Orthodox Church might grow and deepen. Contacts between our two churches, he emphasised, had been particularly valuable during the period of the Communist dictatorship and there needed to be a new commitment to build on that friendship. The vitality of the Romanian Orthodox Church in its parishes and flourishing religious communities now that the church is no longer subject to the harassments of the Communist era is a testimony to the faithfulness of the Romanian people and to the pastoral leadership of many church leaders, not least His Beatitude, Teoctist, whom we commend to God.
‘Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.’
+ Geoffrey Gibraltar