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His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher,
Chicago, August 20, 2010 -- His Eminence Christopher, Metropolitan of Libertyville-Chicago and Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the U.S. and Canada, died Wednesday at the age of 82.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon,
general secretary of the National Council of Churches, wrote to the church's
episcopal council today to express "sadness and deepest condolences on the
repose of Metropolitan Christopher of blessed memory. "
"We have upheld Metropolitan Christopher in our prayers since we learned of his grave illness," Kinnamon wrote on behalf of the NCC's 36 member communions. "Our sadness at his passing is comforted by our understanding that it is Godís will and by our gratitude to God for his life and leadership. We will continue to remember your community and its leadership in this time of sadness and transition."
Born in Galveston, Texas, and baptized Velimir Kovacevich, the future Metropolitan Christopher was the ninth of twelve children of Serbian immigrant parents. After graduation from high school, he attended Nashotah House and graduated from St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Seminary in Libertyville, Illinois.
he was ordained to the Diaconate and Priesthood. He earned a B.A.
(Philosophy), Master of Letters (History) at the University of Pittsburgh;
the Master of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in
Brookline, Massachusetts, and completed courses and examinations for the
doctorate at the Chicago Theological Seminary.
As Bishop of Eastern America and Canada, he soon developed a diocesan-wide program in religious education. Active also in ecumenism, he has served on the joint commission of Orthodox and Roman Catholic bishops and on the Orthodox-Lutheran dialogue, and has represented his church at high levels in both the National and World Councils of Churches. In 1991, he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan, thereby becoming Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the U.S. and Canada.
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 36 member faith groups -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell), email@example.com
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