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Statement of the Antiochian Archdiocese on the Passing to Eternal Life of Pope John Paul II

We join in mourning the loss of Pope John Paul II, the great leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At the same time we rejoice in his ministry, and the legacy of compassion that he leaves to the world. We bring to mind the teaching of St. Ignatius of Antioch in his exhortation to Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna on the role of the bishop:

“Lift up all men, as the Lord lifts you; put up with all in love, as you actually do. Be diligent in unceasing prayers; ask for more understanding than you have; watch with a sleepless spirit. Speak to each individual after the example of God; bear the sickness of all, as a perfect athlete. Where the labor is greatest, the gain is great.” (Ignatius to Polycarp 1:2-3)

It seems clear that Pope John Paul II, in his episcopacy, was true to this teaching. He touched many people of all races and religions by his example of caring, love, and compassion. He also served as a strong example of what it means to suffer and die with grace. He has “fought the good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7)

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP had met Pope John Paul II on two occasions and was impressed by his faithfulness, and holiness. Surely his soul is resting in peace and his memory is eternal.