Sanctus – Patriarch of the Church of Sanctaria, Luke VI, appeared quite frail and at times forgetful during the annual Christmas Day Mass at the Basilica of St. George in Heaven in Sanctus yesterday, prompting fears for the pontiff’s health and wellbeing. Luke VI, who is 82, had to be supported by attendants as he gave his sermon, with many commenting that the sermon itself was delivered slowly and without the usual vigour the Patriarch typically gives.
Notably during the Mass, Patriarch Luke VI appeared to forget words to common prayers, as well as when to give signs of the cross, necessitating prompting from fellow clerics on the Basilica’s high altar. A spokesperson for the Patriarch said the well-respected theologian was “simply more tired than expected” and reminded questioners that the Patriarch was continuing a very full diary into his 80s.
This is the first time serious questions about the Patriarch’s health have been raised. In good health throughout his life, and reign to-date, it is not surprising that his appearance yesterday much thinner than previous outings, slurring and stumbling over words, and forgetting others, has caused consternation. Sources within the Church say that Luke had a “bad flu” in late November, and is still recovering from it, while others suggest something more serious may be at play and Church leaders don’t want to spook the faithful.
Historically, the Church does not comment on the health of the Patriarch unless absolutely necessary, or when they are close to death. It is believed the ruler will be heading into the Sanctarian countryside, as is usual for his post-Christmas activities, to take a break and recuperate at one of the many monasteries or abbeys available. His next public appearance is not expected until late January, with supporters of the Church’s leader hoping he will seem fitter and stronger at that point to dispel what they consider “ugly rumours”.
EDWARD ALLENS, Religion Correspondent