Paul (de Ballester-Convallier) of Nazianzus
Bishop Paul de Ballester-Convallier (1927-1984) was a covert to the Orthodox Church who became the Bishop of Nazianzus in Mexico, and was martyred in 1984.
Bishop Paul was a native of Catalonia, Barcelona, and previously a Franciscan monk. Upon turning to Orthodoxy he studied in seminaries at Athens and Halki. He was ordained in Athens as a Deacon in 1953 and as a Priest in 1954. His ministry as a priest was first in Constantinople (1954-1959) and then in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (1959-1984). In 1970 he was consecrated titular Bishop of Nazianzus (in New York) with its seat in Mexico.
His work there as a churchman, university professor and voluminous author was brilliant and conspicuous, but unfortunately it was sealed with his premature death. He was murdered after the end of the Divine Liturgy in the city of Mexico in 1984. His funeral was attended by Archbishop Iakovos (Coucouzis) who praised the exceptional work of this vibrant Bishop.
News of his murder was reported on the first page of the newspaper Kathemerini, on Saturday, February 4, 1984:
- THE GREEK ORTHODOX BISHOP PAUL WAS MURDERED IN MEXICO
- As it became known from the city of Mexico, before yesterday the Bishop of Nazianzus, Paul De Ballester of the Greek Archdiocese of North and South America, died. He was murdered by a 70 year old Mexican, a previous military man who was suffering from psychiatric illness. The funeral was attended by Archbishop Iakovos who was aware of the work of the active bishop. It should be pointed out that Bishop Paul was of Spanish origin, was received into Orthodoxy as an adult and excelled as a shepherd and author. The Mexican authorities do not exclude the possibility that his murderer was driven to his act through some sort of fanaticism.
Bishop Paul of Nazianzus not only proved worthy of his calling, but also became a neomartyr of Orthodoxy. In a recent visit to Mexico of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Archontonis) in 2006, the order was given to Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico and Central America to transfer the relics of the late Bishop Paul of Nazianzus to the Metropolis and be laid to rest at the monument of this Bishop that lies in the front court of the Cathedral Church of Saint Sophia, which was erected by this ever-memorable hierarch. The year 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the death.
- Hierodeacon Paul de Ballester-Convallier. Why I abandoned Papism. Kivotos magazine. July 1953, pp.285-291; December 1953 pp.483-485.
- (Bishop Paul's article which explains why and how he was converted to Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism. Scroll down past the Greek section to get to the English version)
- Mystagogy: The Weblog of John Sanidopoulos. "Why I Abandoned Papism" by Bishop Paul Ballaster-Convolier. Thursday August 6, 2009.