Archbishop Elpidophoros: “I sincerely regret the pain” caused by presence at event with Turkish occupiers of Cyprus

New York, September 24, 2021

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“I sincerely regret the pain I inadvertently caused to my Cypriot and Greek American brothers” said in a statement yesterday regarding his presence at the opening of the Turkevi Center in New York on Monday.

The Center is home to both Turkey and Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus’ permanent mission to the UN. Besides the Archbishop, the opening ceremony was attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey and Ersin Tatar, head of the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which especially angered Greeks and Cypriots.

In response, President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus canceled his meeting with the Archbishop on Tuesday, and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece strongly considered canceling his meeting with the hierarch on Friday, though in the end he decided to go ahead with it.

In his statement in response, Abp. Elpidophoros emphasizes that his presence “could never be the recognition of a calamity … an occupation.”

His statement reads in full:        

As a Greek from Constantinople, my family and I have experienced the terrible consequences of the uprooting from our ancestral homes, like many of my compatriots, but also of Imbros and Tenedos, due to another escalation of the Cyprus issue in the ’70s. I have grown up with this pain, which is why I understand the pain of our Cypriot brothers, as well as their feelings and reactions. I consider their expressions of the pain of people who lost everything: property, homelands, dreams, family, relatives.

So I want to declare to everyone that my presence at Monday’s event could never be the recognition of a calamity, the status of refugee, an occupation. My presence has always had the same constant orientation: honest and courageous dialogue, for a future with peace and protection of religious freedom. We are all united in defending our national interests, each in his own way and role. But united, committed to the same goal.

I sincerely regret the pain I inadvertently caused to my Cypriot and Greek American brothers, especially to my beloved flock. I pray that a just and sustainable solution is found in martyred Cyprus, as the Cypriot people expect it, based on international law and the protection of human rights, as per the UN resolutions, and I am working towards this end.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has stood for a century next to Hellenism everywhere, defending its aspirations. Our unity is my ministry and my obligation.

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Stephanos9/27/2021 6:50 pm
What will really wake up Archheretic Elpidoktonos, is if ⅔ of the people of the Greek Archdiocese leave and join ROCOR, even if only temporarily! The Greek Archdiocese needs to cleanse itself of all Masonic, Modernist, Ecumenist hierarchs!
Simeon9/25/2021 4:39 pm
The Archbishop should be thrown out of America! He has never been anything but a divisive figure. And he stays drunk on power!
Panagiotis9/24/2021 11:25 pm
He should not only apologize, he should resign... in my opinion, the Greek Orthodox Church in America needs a strong conservative Archbishop, not someone who marched with BLM....
Alex9/24/2021 10:46 pm
This bishop scares me!
George michalopulos9/24/2021 6:54 pm
God forbid that he should apologize for trying to single-handedly destroying Orthodox ecclesiology.
Mikhail9/24/2021 5:38 pm
There are countless statements for which he needs to apologize. He has only apologized for this (with caveat) because it caused a bit of trouble for him. How likely is it that he will apologize for abandoning his flock by pronouncing that people's conscience about abortion does not matter and vaccine religious exemptions are forbidden to be written by his clergy? Not likely at all. From the man who gave us "first without equals"...I say...Anaxios!!!
Theodoros 9/24/2021 3:09 pm
The Archbishop apologized for this because he got called out on his actions. He has not been called out for his contributions to the schism in Orthodoxy through his notorious "first without equals" paper. The mistake that the governments of Greece and Cyprus made is that they did not understand that both Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Elpidophoros care only about more and more power for the Patriarchate of Constantinople atthe expense of Orthodoxy and everything else. Greece and Cyprus which face threats from Turkey are also expendable. What the Archbishop did on the issue of Greece and Cyprus is an extension of his indifference to moral issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and transgender ideology. The Phanariots care only for power. Technically, the Churches of Greece and Cyprus are autocephalous but the Patriarchate has managed to maintain a destructive influence over them. Certainly, this affair with the Turks should convince the bishops of Greece and the Archbishop of Cyprus that following Constantinople's lead and recognizing the fake bishops in Ukraine was a horrible mistake.
Jean9/24/2021 2:27 pm
Greece and Cyprus should brake away from the patriarchate of Istanbul.
Peter 9/24/2021 1:52 pm
Meh go pound sand Elpidohphoros Funny how he apologizes for this but refuses to apologize for the theological scandals he has caused in the Church
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