Archbishop Anastasios of Albania & Patriarch Teotist
Fr John Salter writes:
Patriarch Teotist of Romania died in July 2007 of a heart attack following major surgery for prostate gland trouble in the Fundeni hospital in Bucharest. He was 92 years of age.
Teotist became Patriarch in 1986 succeeding Patriarch Justin, but his position under the paranoid President Nicolae Ceausescu was unenviable and when Ceausescu fell and was executed Teotist fell with him in 1989 being accused by anti-Communists demonstrators who accused him of being too conciliatory to Ceausescu sending him a congratulatory telegram when the President dealt very harshly with the miners' strike, and keeping silent when Ceausescu destroyed some of the historic churches of Bucharest and of picturesque villages and their replacement by Soviet style housing blocks, the better to control the workers. Teotist was also criticised for his failure to stand against the persecution of the Eastern Rite Romanian Catholic Church. It was a repetition of the silence of the Anglican hierarchy in the face of atrocities and persecution of Recusant Catholics in England.
Although Teotist stepped down under public opinion pressure in 1989, he did not step down for long, but in old age he confessed that during that period he felt that God had abandoned him. It was for the ageing Patriarch a real Dark Night of the Soul, but it earned him some sympathy from his flock, and in 1999 he was admired for inviting Pope John Paul to visit his Patriarchate during which visit the Pope and Patriarch called for the healing of divisions within the Christian community. The Papal visit was an unexpected success and this was a comfort to Patriarch Teotist in his declining years.
May the Lord God remember His servant Teotist in His Kingdom now and to the ages of ages.