On this Day July 7, 1972: Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras Dies

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Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I died in Istanbul, Turkey on July 7, 1972 at age 86.

A giant in global Orthodoxy who was first sent to the United States to unite a fractured group of communities spread throughout the nation in opposing political camps into one archdiocese, Athenagoras is remembered for having agreed with Pope Pius VI in 1965 to revoke the mutual excommunication decrees of 1054 between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

Pope Paul VI of the Roman Catholic Church and  Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople at the first meeting between leaders of the split church since the East-West Schism of 1054.

Pope Paul VI of the Roman Catholic Church and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople at the first meeting between leaders of the split church since the East-West Schism of 1054.

Interesting fact: When Athenagoras was elected Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in 1948, U.S. President Harry Truman offered his Presidential airplane to Athenagorasto fly from America to Istanbul.

Associated Press archival footage from the funeral of Patriarch Athenagoras:

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