The Archbishop even fabricated sexual assault allegations against Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol many years ago.
Limassol, Cyprus, December 29, 2020
His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus continues to sow division amongst the hierarchs of the Cypriot Church and scandal among the faithful, prompting His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol and His Eminence Metropolitan Nikiforos of Kykkos to speak out again and set the record straight.
The Archbishop has publicly been at odds with a number of hierarchs since he broke his promise to the Holy Synod and unilaterally decided to recognize the Ukrainian schismatics. Unfortunately, the Archbishop has not taken the criticism from his fellow bishops well and has accused them of being a conspiratorial parasynagogue working within the Church to serve Russian interests.
The Archbishop has even publicly spoken about murdering the families of the bishops who stand against his schismatic decision, saying they would more easily forgive him for that than for entering into communion with the Ukrainian schismatics. His fellow hierarchs were forced to publicly remind him that such words are not befitting of a hierarch of Christ.
However, just three days after the great feast of the Nativity of the Lord as celebrated in Cyprus, Abp. Chrysostomos gave an interview to the Greek outlet Politis in which he continued to attack hierarchs for disagreeing with him, repeating many accusations and presenting new ones.
In particular, the Cypriot primate spoke about the background of the elections for Archbishop of the Cypriot Orthodox Church in 2006, which he won despite having the lowest number of votes.
In his view, Metropolitans Athanasios of Limassol and Nikiforos of Kykkos now oppose him on the recognition of the Ukrainian schismatics because they are still bitter about not winning the primatial elections.
In the interview, Abp. Chrysostomos says that he was not actually a candidate in the elections, but he supported Met. Nikiforos because he did not want Met. Athanasios to win. However, according to the Archbishop, Met. Nikiforos then insulted him at meetings of the Holy Synod. “What can I tell you? Shall I call him a fool?” Abp. Chrysostomos says.
In short, Abp. Chrysostomos explains that although he attempted to make deals with both Metropolitans, they both refused to support him in the elections. He also speaks about how he has had a long-standing confrontation with representatives of the Athonite Vatopedi Monastery, where Met. Athanasios was a monk for many years.
And turning to Ukraine, the Archbishop wonders why the Metropolitans are interested in the Ukrainian issue now, when they never asked him how his consultations with Orthodox primates on the issue proceeded last year.
Abp. Chrysostomos even again repeats his fearful accusation that he could massacre the metropolitans’ families and they would treat him nicer than they do now with the Ukrainian situation.
Unsurprisingly, the Archbishop, who has been mired in scandals for many years, says not a word about the fact that many years ago he made false accusations against Met. Athanasios, accusing him of homosexual sexual assault, with the matter being brought before an ecclesiastical court. It was proven during the proceedings that the Archbishop, then the Metropolitan of Paphos, conspired with a hairdresser in Thessaloniki to fabricate accusations about the time the hairdresser had lived on Mt. Athos while Met. Athanasius was a monk of Vatopedi.
This shameful episode is well known in Cyprus and beyond.
Met. Athanasios issued a sorrowful statement on the same day as the Archbishop’s belligerent interview.
“It is with great sadness that I am forced to write these few words,” Met. Athanasios begins, “because in these days and in the difficult times of agony and so many other serious problems that beset the whole world, the primate of our church has chosen to scandalize the suffering people of God, saying so many bad words against both me and other of his most holy brethren and fellow bishops.”
“Besides, I have been accustomed to this behavior of his against me since I was young,” the Metropolitan of Limassol continues, presumably referring to the Archbishop’s grudge against Vatopedi Monastery and his shameful accusations against him.
Everything the Archbishop says is a lie and slander, Met. Athanasios affirms. He also notes that the Archbishop also has a strange way of choosing particularly holy days to publicly make such statements and accusations, “as if he intends to scandalize the people and to crush the spiritual and reverential spirit of the holy feasts, which are days of love, peace and forgiveness.”
The Metropolitan completely denies everything the Archbishop says in his interview. “I am very sorry for the ruin of this institution [the Archbishopric—OC] and its position,” Met. Athanasios says, lamenting the constant source of scandal for the faithful.
“It’s obvious that the Archbishop’s efforts are aimed at the well-known ‘divide and conquer’ and ‘if the shoe fits’…” His Eminence says.
He concludes by entreating the understanding and forgiveness of the Cypriot faithful and wishing all a blessed Nativity season.
Met. Nikiforos of Kykkos has also responded to the Archbishop’s scandalous interview. “Only bitterness and indignation” could cause what he has said about situations and people, including his brother bishops, the Metropolitan emphasized.
Both what the Archbishop said about the primatial elections in 2006 and how he behaves bring dishonor to the institution of the Archbishopric, Met. Nikiforos said, adding that a book will soon be published about the elections, reports Romfea.
“Unfortunately,” the Metropolitan continues, “this manner of behavior is not new for the Archbishop, and, we regret to observe that, notwithstanding his age and state of health, he remains obstinately incurable in this regard.”
The interview in question is full of deliberate lies and the abuse of the truth, Met. Nikiforos states, as anyone who knows the details of the 2006 elections can attest.
And in agreement with Met. Athanasios, Met. Nikiforos notes the strange timing of the Archbishop’s interview, which negatively effects and corrodes the spirit of the great feasts of the Nativity and Theophany, “and cause the agitation and scandal of our people.”
Bishops should be a source of comfort and consolation for the people, especially in these difficult days, His Eminence emphasizes.
“With genuine love in Christ,” Met. Nikiforos concludes by calling on His Beatitude to take heed of himself in these holy days, especially considering his poor health, and to seek reconciliation with his brethren, “instead of making inflammatory and abusive interviews and statements.”
Cypriot Doctor of Theology Andreas N. Papavassiliou has previously noted that Abp. Chrysostomos shows himself to be unpredictable, volatile, and unstable.