As we face the terrible effects of the Covid-19 pandemic trying to make sense of what is happening all around us and most probably asking where does God’s will and plan for each and every one fit in in all of this, it would do no harm to look back to past events, not to fall victims of romantic nostalgia but rather to receive new strengths from the Christian virtue of hope that assures us that all will pass with the exception of God’s Word.
It was to the service to this Eternal Word that Gennadios Zervos, Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta, dedicated his entire life. We might still remember seeing him among us back in July 2014 when the relic of St George’s arm housed at the Benedictine Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, was brought to the Parishes of St George in Ħal Qormi and Victoria on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of Gozo’s first titular statue of the saint. The invitation was made on the intiative of Mgr Pawlu Cardona, then Archpriest of St George’s Basilica, and during Gennadios’ short visit to Gozo he led an Ecumenical Celebration together with other local leaders of various Christian denominations.
Metropolitan Gennadios Zervos passed away on October 16, 2020, aged 83. He was considered an ecumenical figure within the contemporary Christian world, and the Vatican website announced his passing with a fitting tribute. He had been elected Metropolitan back in 1996 in Venice’s historical Cathedral of San Giorgio dei Grechi which was his episcopal seat.
Last March, the Orthodox Time reported Gennadios saying to his faithful that God through the Eucharist will protect and save us from the Coronavirus. “Think about God and pray to God. The evil will pass. God follows us and guards us with his full of love and peace, Divine Cloak! … Always remember that you are not alone; there is God, the Divine Love, the Charity of God! Therefore, we must delete the word ‘fear’ from our souls; soon we will have the Resurrection! Soon we will have real life! Soon we will have the victory over death”, said the Greek Orthodox Bishop.
May the Holy Spirit continue to raise in the Church more ecumenical bishops who will follow in his footsteps!
Lord, grant him eternal rest!
Watch again the Ecumenical Celebration at St George’s Basilica in July 2014.