BOSTON – Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon fell asleep in the Lord on February 2 at the age of 92. He was by all accounts the most prominent Orthodox Theologian of our times, and he is considered the ‘father” of contemporary Eucharistic Ecclesiology.
He was the ‘theological mind’ (Θεολογικός νους) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and his theological contribution to the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church on Crete in 2016 was enormous.
He had taught not only in the classrooms in many universities around the world but also through his books and lectures in theological settings and conferences, and yet he was a humble, approachable, caring and dialoging hierarch.
His Funeral Service was held on February 4 at the Cathedral of Athens officiated by Metropolitan Theodoritos of Laodikia, director of the Office of the Phanar in Athens – representing Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew – and his burial took place at the famous First Cemetery of Athens.
Metropolitan Ioannis Zizioulas Geron of Pergamon was born in 1931. He first studied at the Theological School of the University of Thessaloniki for two years and then transferred to the Theological School of the University of Athens, from which he graduated in 1955.
After completing his postgraduate studies abroad, he submitted a doctoral thesis at the Theological School of the University of Athens.
He taught Dogmatic Theology at the University of Edinburgh and was a Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Glasgow as well as a Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the University of Thessaloniki, of which he was Professor Emeritus.
He was also a visiting Professor of the Universities of London, Geneva, and Gregorian University of Rome, as well as an honorary Professor of the Theological School of the University of Athens. He was invited to lecture at many foreign universities and participated in many international conferences, also representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate for many years in international ecclesiastical organizations.
He was a member of the Central Committee and the Faith and Order Committee of the World Council of Churches, as well as the Orthodox Co-Chairman of the International Committee of the Official Orthodox-Anglican Theological Dialogue and the similar Committee for the theological dialogue between Orthodox and Roman Catholics. He also and chaired the Fourth and Fifth Pre-Council Pan-Orthodox Conferences in Chambésy, Geneva.
Author of numerous books and articles in many languages, he was honored with academic distinctions. In 1986 he was elected by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as Metropolitan of Pergamon, and in 2014 he was elevated to Geron Metropolitan.
He was the first clergyman to become president of the Academy of Athens.