THE Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA) said the late Archbishop Emeritus Petero Mataca had a clear voice of authority whose steady and consistent leadership would be sorely missed in a nation that needed it all.
In a condolence message to the Catholic Church yesterday, the centre said Archbishop Mataca was dedicated to all people from all walks of life, a true advocate for social justice and showed commitment to peace for churches and all faith communities.
The ECREA message stated that even in his old age, Archbishop Mataca remained a committed member of ECREA's Sustained Dialogue for the Heads of Christian Churches in building and rebuilding relationships in Fiji.
"In his dedication and commitment, we saw the revival of the Fiji Council of Churches," it stated.
"He fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith. Now he, who longed for our Lord's appearing, receives the crown of righteousness.
"We are praying for you, all the Catholics in Fiji, and all people in Fiji as we mourn the loss of a great leader, that we will know the comfort of the Holy Spirit at this time of great loss, and at the same time rejoice in belief that Petero Mataca's name is written in the Book of Life."
Meanwhile, preparations for his interment have already started at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Suva.
The whole church area was draped in purple cloth earlier this week to signify the mourning period.
The reguregu begins next Tuesday at the Lami Parish.