It is with a heavy heart that we extend our deepest condolences on the passing of a distinguished and a true European statesman, Jacques Delors. Following a long life, he leaves a legacy of dedicated service, leadership, and the pursuit of unity – values we hold within the Orthodox Christian community in Europe and throughout the world.
Mr. Delors was a figure of significant influence in European politics, and he played a pivotal role in advancing the cause of unity and cooperation in the European Union. We fondly recall the occasions when we had the privilege of meeting him—in Brussels in 1993 and 1994 and Strasbourg in 1994. During these encounters, we witnessed firsthand his deep understanding of the complexities of our time and his unwavering dedication to the principles that bind us together.
While Mr. Delors primarily focused on economic and political matters within the European Union, his support and understanding were invaluable to the Orthodox Church. His ideas and his motto were to give a “soul to Europe.” It is in this spirit, with his support, that the Office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union was established in 1994. His engagement with us reflected a spirit of dialogue and mutual respect, fostering an environment in a united Europe where diverse voices could be heard and understood.
As we bid farewell to this remarkable statesman, let us remember not only his political achievements but also the moments of connection and understanding that transpired between us. May his memory be eternal, and may his family find solace in the knowledge that his legacy lives on, especially in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him personally.
At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, 29 December 2023
In solemn remembrance,
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch