It is with deep sorrow that we learned of the death of the Elder Metropolitan of Pergamon, John D. Zizioulas, after a few days of hospitalization.
Metropolitan John of Pergamon was one of the most important Orthodox theologians and thinkers of our time, with ecumenical ecclesiastical influence and undoubted academic recognition. Born in Katafygio, Kozani, in the north of Greece (1931), he will study theology at the University of Athens and at Harvard University, while he will conduct a doctoral thesis at the University of Athens on the ecclesiology of the first three centuries. Soon, he will be involved in the Ecumenical Movement ("Faith and Order"), while from 1970 until the mid-90s he will be invited to teach doctrinal and systematic theology at the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and King's College, London, ending his career as a full professor at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Thessaloniki (1998). In 1986 he will be elected Metropolitan of Pergamon by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and will be ordained "athroon". As Metropolitan of the Ecumenical Throne, he offered his service to the Orthodox Church as president or member in various bilateral inter-Christian dialogues, while his contribution to the actions of the Patriarchate for the protection of the environment is considered of particular importance. He authored and published numerous books, articles and studies. His work has been translated multiple times, while dozens of studies and monographs have been conducted on it so far. Moreover, it is worth noting that various aspects of his theological thought are included in the syllabi of many theological seminaries and schools today.
Without a doubt, Metropolitan of Pergamon was an important theological figure, who will continue to dominate for decades the ecclesiastical, ecumenical and academic sphere. The main axes of his theological work (among others, Personhood and existential interpretation of the doctrine of the Trinity, Eucharistic theology and eschatological ontology, etc.), determined his entire work from a very early stage, while by his original and penetrating hermeneutical approaches, he offered an existential interpretation of the Christian doctrines and more broadly of the Tradition of the Church, attempting to bring the church's faith into a living existential dialogue with humanity and modern culture.
This great ecclesiastical and theological personality was received by the Volos Academy for Theological Studies on October 28-30, 2011 as its fellow in the context of an international conference and special event, recognizing thus the trust and love he showed to the Academy from its first very steps. Metropolitan John was among the first to support the work and vision of the Academy, already participating in the first cycle of lectures on the topic: "Church and Eschatology", but also in many other occasions. A dignified celebrant and an excellent speaker, the late hierarch brightened with his presence liturgical gatherings and public events organized by the Holy Metropolis of Demetrias, while we had the unique privilege of interacting with him personally and benefiting from his experience and wisdom.
May the Triune God, to whom he dedicated his entire work, rest him in the dwelling place of the saints and in the land of the living.
By Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias and Almyros