GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA
10 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10021 (212) 570-3500 CABLE: ARCHGREEK.NEWYORK
For Immediate Release February 1, 1984
Greek Orthodox Bishop Paul Succumbs to Assailant's Bullets
NewYork, NY -
Bishop Paul of Nazianzos, 56, Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Iakovos responsible for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, succumbed January 31 to bullet wounds suffered on January 22 in Mexico City. Bishop Paul had been in critical condition since he was shot as he left Saint Sophia Cathedral after celebrating the Divine Liturgy by 70-year old Rafael Roman Mondrago who then shot himself in an apparent suicide attempt. Archbishop Iakovos presided at a memorial prayer service for the repose of the soul of Bishop Paul in Saint Paul's Chapel at Archdiocesan headquarters here at noon, January 31, and in his eulogy said: "Our beloved Bishop Paul, whose body was ravaged and brought to an earthly end, is whole again as his soul lives in the eternal and heavenly Kingdom of the Father of us all." Archbishop Iakovos also announced that Metropolitan Silas of New Jersey would officiate at the funeral services to be held Thursday, February 2 at Saint Sophia Cathedral in Mexico City with the participation of Bishop Gennadios of Buenos Aires and Bishop Anthony of the Syrian Orthodox Church serving in Mexico. Investigating officers have established that the assailant, who is reported out of danger, was a retired army officer who had undergone brain surgery 12 months ago and had attacked Bishop Paul for unknown reasons. The Rt. Rev. Paul de Ballester, a former Roman Catholic monk, was the first convert to Greek Orthodoxy to become a bishop in the Western Hemisphere when he was elevated to the episcopacy on March 15, 1970. A native of Barcelona, Spain, he received his primary and secondary education there. In 1952, he entered the Theological School of the University ofAthens and then later the Halki School of Theology of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Constantinople, Turkey) where he received a Master's Degree in Orthodox Theology in 1958.
He was ordained a deacon in 1953 by Metropolitan Dionysios in Athens and on June 26, 1954 he was ordained a priest by Bishop Chrysostomos in Athens, Greece. He arrived in the United States in the fall of 1959 and was assigned by Archbishop Iakovos to serve the Annunciation parish in Scranton, PA, where he was afforded the opportunity to learn English. In addition, he spoke Greek, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and Latin. In August 1966, he was named Archdiocesan Vicar for Central America.This was preceded by a period of missionary activity in which he visited most of the areas of Central and South America.
Active in ecumenical affairs, Bishop Paul attended the Uppsala general Assembly of the World Council of Churches and represented Archbishop Iakovos as an official observer at the Roman Catholic International Eucharistic Congress in Bogota, Columbia.
He was a professor of ancient Greek and Greek civilization at the national University in Mexico City and made frequent appearances on television and radio where he discussed moral and religious issues.
Bishop Paul translated the Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy into Spanish and was the author of several books and publications including: Our God, Your God, and God, The Journey and the Work of Saint Paul of Spain, and My Conversion to Greek Orthodoxy1 (which has been translated into several languages). During his service in Mexico City, he was instrumental in building a parish complex which includes a community center, a parochial school and a parish house. He also organized the Greek Orthodox youth and the Ladies Philoptochos Society (Friends of the Poor).
1. Present text. It is the publisher's sincere hope that with the broader title of "My Exodus", the amazing and most powerful testimony of our blessed Bishop Paul will challenge readers and attract seekers of the true Church of Christ, who may be disenchanted by the present day impasse of their religious institutions, to follow his great example. May his memory be eternal!
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Last update: 20-5-2011.