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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-11-13

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The new Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus, Chrysostomos II, was enthroned during a special ceremony on Sunday in the presence of representatives from the Orthodox and other Churches, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, representatives from the Greek government and the political and military leadership of Cyprus.

    In his formal address at the official ceremony, the new Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus said that his main concern would be to upgrade the spiritual work of the Church so that it reaches the modern people by an understandable language.

    The new Archbishop said he intents to enlarge the Holy Synod, saying that this constitutes not only a practical but also a theological necessity.

    He also referred to the continuous Turkish occupation of one third of Cyprus territory since 1974 and reaffirmed that the Church would continue to express its concerns and views on the Cyprus question.

    Two and a half years ago the people of Cyprus realized the danger and rejected the UN envisaged Annan plan for a solution of the Cyprus problem, which intended to dissolve our state and unconditionally surrender to the occupation power, he said.

    Referring to our Turkish Cypriot compatriots he said that there is nothing that divides them from the Greek Cypriots.

    We lived peacefully with the Turkish Cypriots for so many years. We are not bothered by the voice of the muezzin. But we are bothered tremendously by the illegal Turkish occupation, and the violation of the human rights of all Cypriots by Turkey, he stressed.

    My duty, he said, is to inform foreign diplomats, friends abroad, and organized bodies, on the developments of the Cyprus issue, thus helping the government in its efforts.

    He also referred to the destruction of the occupied churches of Cyprus and said that he is very sad about their desecration by the Turkey.

    More than 133 churches, chapels and monasteries that are located in the northern part of Cyprus controlled by the Turkish army since 1974 have been desecrated, 78 churches have been converted into mosques, 28 are used as military depots and hospitals, and 13 are used as stockyards.

    But no matter how much this saddens me, I can not visit those religious sites. I can not give directly or indirectly any sort of legality to the illegal occupation regime, he said.

    He also said that he would do his utmost to restore the good administration of the Churchs finances.

    Referring to education, he noted that it constitutes an important element for the survival of the Cypriot people and said that the Church has submitted its proposals on the reform of the education system in Cyprus.

    In statements after the ceremony, President Papadopoulos wished every success to the new Archbishop.

    I hope that unity will prevail at the Holy Synod and the Church of Cyprus, he said.

    The event began in the morning when members of the Holy Synod, the church most senior body, high priests and laymen gathered at the Archbishopric in the walled capital city of Nicosia, and then moved on in a formal procession to the Cathedral of Saint John, adjacent to the Archbishopric.

    Chanters led the procession, followed by clergy of various ranks in the church hierarchy and the new Archbishop, clad in a normal cloak and holding a mace, bearing two snakes.

    They then moved on to the Holy of the Holies in the church and eventually took up their positions to allow the ceremony to begin.

    Two psalms, usually sung for ceremonial occasions such as this one, opened this religious ritual, followed by the signature of a church code by the members of the Holy Synod.

    The Archbishop signed in red ink, one of the privileges he has secured as the head of the autocephalous church of Cyprus, and the rest of the Synod (nine in total) members in blue or black ink.

    After the signing, the high priests draped the red cloak over the Archbishop, and the Bishop of Kition, first in rank among the bishops, handed Chrystosmos II the empirical scepter, which dates back to the 1860s. This particular scepter was made in 1869 at the order of the then Archbishop Sofronios and six other archbishops have used it.

    Bishop of Trimithountos Vasilios addressed the new Archbishop on behalf of the Holy Synod expressing hope that he brings unity in the Church, urging him to concentrate on the struggle of the people of Cyprus to be reunited.

    In his address, Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos wished that justice in Cyprus is restored and the Turkish occupied territories are returned to their lawful inhabitants.

    He also wished that soon it becomes possible to return to the occupied churches and holy sites of Cyprus.

    On behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Thiatiron and Great Britain Gregorios, praised the work and education of the new Cypriot Archbishop and urged him to secure unity in the Church of Cyprus.

    They all expressed gratitude towards the former Archbishop of Cyprus, Chrysostomos for his work, whose position was honorably vacated last May at a meeting of senior clergy, since Archbishop Chrysostomos has been incapacitated for the past four years and is unable to perform his duties as the head of the Church.

    This meeting led to elections for a new Archbishop.

    The ceremony concluded with another procession leading back to the Archbishopric for more church psalms and Archbishop Chrysostomos II received the wishes of the people.

    The Greek government was represented by Minister of Public Order Vyron Polydoras.

    Present at the ceremony were also, among others, representatives from the Armenian Church, the Coptic Church, the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Poland, Albania, Estonia, Slovakia and the Czech Lands, and the Holy See.

    Tonight, an evening church service will be held in honour of the new Archbishop who celebrates his name day on Monday. On Tuesday, the Archbishop will go to the Holy Monastery at Kykkos to officiate a special memorial service at the tomb of his predecessor the late Archbishop Makarios II, who was also the first President of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In the long and turbulent history of the Church of Cyprus in the 20th century, six archbishops served the church for 79 years, while for nearly three decades the post was vacant because of friction among the church ranks.

    The Church of Cyprus is autocephalous and its head enjoys exceptional privileges (signs in red ink, wears special empirical tunic at important church ceremonies and holds a scepter). The Church was announced autocephalous in 478 AD when the remains of its founder, Saint Barnabas, were located on the island, in a tomb together with a copy of the gospel by Saint Mathew.

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