In Sympathy for Two Great Men of Faith: President Gordon B. Hinkley and Archbishop Christodoulos

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As many of you know, this week was marred by the death of two great men, President Gordon B. Hinkley of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and Archbishop Christodoulos of the Greek Orthodox Church. Both men lead their religions with a spirit of love and hope, and will be missed by their congregations.

President Hinkley was a remarkable man, and had a love for all people that was genuine. NPR has this story regarding President Hinkley, his accomplishments, and particularly his popularity with the press. There are some great quotes of his at the bottom of the story that show his love and dedication to the Gospel, as well as humor and candor.

President Hinkley represents the fourth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that I can remember. I vaguely remember President Spencer W. Kimbal's death in 1985, and the funeral that was held at the Tabernacle. Then President Ezra Taft Benson passed away shortly before I began my mission for the Church in 1994. President Howard W. Hunter signed my missionary call, and my card, and passed away while I was in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. They are all special to me, with each one having an impact on my life.

Only this morning was it reported that Archbishop Christodoulos had passed away just an hour after President Hinkley. Now, I am not Greek, but I do support the Greek Orthodox community every year (the Greek Festival is a fund raiser for the Holy Trinity Church in Salt Lake). From what has been reported of him on KUER (which doesn't have a web headline yet), he was a great man of faith, working to build bridges of understanding with the Roman Catholic Church. He invited Pope John Paul II to Athens for the first meeting between the leaders of the two faiths in over a thousand years. He loved the youth of the church deeply, and will be missed by the over 300 million members of the Greek Orthodox faith. For a great article on the Archbishop, check out this entry at the New York Times.

What strikes me as interesting is that both leaders were known for reaching out across faiths, and they both had a great love for the future generation. I think it's fitting that both should be remembered with respect and reverence for their work. If only all members of faiths could have the same belief of working together instead of trying to tear bonds between faiths apart, I think the majority of problems in the world would be solved.