ALEXANDRIA (ANA) — Orthodox Metropolitan of Zimbabwe Theodoros on Saturday was unanimously elected as the 115th Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa by 13 Metropolitans of the Church’s Holy Synod.
The new Patriarch of Alexandria and Africa, successor of Patriarch Petros who was killed along with 16 clergymen and civilians in the Chinook crash on 11 September in the sea-coastal area of Sithonia, is Metropolitan Bishop Theodoros of Zimbabwe, also known as Nikos Choreftakis.
The voting procedure started at 10 am in the Patriarchal Monastery of Agios Savvas in Alexandria, when the 27 electors of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchy, with secret ballot, were called to choose the three they though suitable for the Patriarchal Throne. In the first voting session the new Patriarch received 22 votes, the Metropolitan Bishop of Axomi, Petros, 15 and the Metropolitan Bishop of Leontoupolis 10 votes.
The Holy Synod, which is assembled by 13 Hierarchy members, during a new session, unanimously elected the new Patriarch, whose enthronement will take place on 24 October.
The newly elected Patriarch received the news with gratification and was clearly touched, while he expressed his gratefulness to all those who supported him up until now. He thanked those who elected him and added that he will stand by their side, thus implying that he will keep the equilibrium that exists in the Patriarchy of Alexandria and will not be making any changes.
Meanwhile, he thanked the Ecumenical Patriarch and also made a special mention of the Patriarch of Ierosolima, Eirinaios. He also expressed his respect for the Archbishop of Athens and Greece, Christodoulos.
“I thank this charismatic leader, who I know how much he supported and helped me. Your Holiness, I will be by your side, loyal. Our Greece, which you lead, is our home, our Greece, with the rocks, the sea and the sun; it is the mother that helps us bear the cross of being expatriates,” he stated.
The new Patriarch of Alexandria and Africa, Theodoros II, was born in Heraklio, Crete in 1954. He holds a degree from the Theological School of the University of Thessaloniki. He was consecrated a Deacon in 1975 and Presbyter in 1978. He served as Archdeakon and Coadjutor of the Holy Cathedral of Lambis and Sfakion.
In 1985 he was posted Exarch of the Alexandria Patriarchy in Odessa. In 1990 ,he was elected Bishop of Kyrini and appointed representative of the Patriarchy of Athens until March 1997. He then started his service as the Patriarchal Commissary of Alexandria.
On 23 September 1997 he was elected Metropolitan Bishop of Cameroon while in October 2002 Metropolitan Bishop of Zimbabwe.
“The Greek Orthodox Church of Greece will support and assist the work of the new Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros,” stated the Archbishop Christodoulos. The head of the Greek Church stressed that Theodoros has all the credentials and virtues to face the task he has been given.
Telegrams of congratulations were sent to the new Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros by the Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and the leader of the Opposition party Giorgos Papandreou, as well as the Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.
The Greek ambassador in Egypt, Panagiotis Vlassopoulos, described today as a happy day, since, as he noted, “The Patriarchy of Alexandria has somehow been able to heal the wound left behind so unexpectedly by the late Patriarch Petros.”
Furthermore, the Alternate President of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, Stefanos Tamvakis, noted that the unanimous voting of the new Patriarch is of major importance, since the result unites the clergy and the people. Finally, the President of Cairo’s Hellenic Community, Christos Kavalis, declared that the whole community will support the new Patriarch Theodore II, both in good times and in bad times.