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Greek Archbishop Cancels Plans for Liver Transplant After Cancer Spreads


Doctors in the southeastern U.S. city of Miami have canceled a planned liver transplant for the head of Greece's Orthodox Church after finding that his cancer has spread.

Doctors had diagnosed 68-year-old Archbishop Christodoulos with cancer in June and scheduled surgery for Monday after finding a compatible liver donor. But during the procedure they discovered that the cancer had spread to his abdominal cavity, making the transplant impossible.

Church officials say the archbishop will remain hospitalized until doctors determine his next course of treatment.

Elected Archbishop of Athens and All Greece in 1998, Christodoulos has tried to improve ties with the Roman Catholic Church. In 2001, despite protests from some Orthodox believers, the Archbishop received Pope John Paul II, the first pope to visit Greece in more than 1,000 years. Christodoulos also visited Pope Benedict last year.

The two churches split in the Great Schism of 1054.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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