THE funeral of Reverend Dr Tuikilakila Waqairatu was not only a gathering for local Christians but also many from abroad, including New Zealand, Australia and the US.
It was a time of sorrow where church leaders came together to renew ties and mourn "a brother", someone they labelled a true servant of God.
The many eulogies and messages of condolences read out at the Centenary Church on Thursday depicted the life of a true Christian leader.
The president of the Methodist Church in New Zealand, Reverend Rex Nathan, said Mr Waqairatu was a man of passion and someone who set goals because he had wanted his country to become a better place for his people.
Uniting Church of Australia president Reverend Professor Andrew Dutney said Dr Waqairatu was someone who shared a special relationship with them
"When Salote studied in Brisbane, he usually came to visit and upon these visits, he worshipped with us," Mr Dutney said.
"He was a leader of courage — men and women were equal in relationship to him and he used to share that church should be above politics."
Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga and Pacific Conference of Churches president Reverend Dr Tevita Havea said Mr Waqairatu was a man of honour who had set a great example to every Christian, not only in Fiji but around the region.
A number of condolence messages were also read out in church by general secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra.
British High Commissioner Roderick Drummond, in his condolence message, said Mr Waqairatu's sudden death was a sad loss.
The World Council of Churches described the late church president as a leader of reform, reconciliation and change for Fiji and its people, while the World Methodist Council said Mr Waqairatu always had dedication and concern for the greater Methodist body.