Cypriot Synod changes statutes—non-citizens banned from voting for primate

Nicosia, Cyprus, November 29, 2022

Photo: Romfea Photo: Romfea     

According to a decision by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus yesterday, non-Cypriot citizens are banned from voting in the upcoming elections for the next Church primate.

Previously, voting was open to all Orthodox Christians 18 years and older who had lived in Cyprus for at least one year and who had registered to vote.

However, the Synod decided yesterday, “due to unforeseen issues that have arisen and the exceeding of the established timetables,” to limit voting only to Cypriot citizens, “so that the elections could be held as soon as possible within the time limits provided by the statutes,” reports Romfea.

The change to the Church statutes could have an impact on the candidacy of His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, who is by far the favorite among the people. There is a sizable Russian population in Limassol of about 50,000 people, many of whom aren’t Cypriot citizens and thus aren’t allowed to vote.

The previous primate, Archbishop Chrysostomos, reposed in the Lord on November 7, and on December 18, the faithful will choose their three favorite candidates, whose names will then be put to a vote by the Holy Synod.

Met. Athanasios has severely criticized the previous Archbishop’s decision to enter into communion with the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” instead offering his continuing support to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (however, the Metropolitan did recently say that whoever becomes the next Archbishop should continue to commemorate the schismatic Epiphany Dumenko, because the Holy Synod eventually voted not to protest the Archbishop’s personal decision to recognize Dumenko).

The next favorite, Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos, previously criticized the recognition of the schismatics, but after visiting Patriarch Bartholomew in the Phanar a few months ago, he changed his mind and now supports Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine.

Other candidates, including Metropolitan Georgios of Paphos, who as the senior hierarch of the Church chaired the Synod session yesterday, and Metropolitan Vasilios of Constantia, were much closer to Abp. Chrysostomos and wholeheartedly support the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”

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Pfmd3/25/2023 8:48 pm
Theo: I am more than surprised, practically shocked at your lack of basic and simple knowledge of the world? Cyprus is an Island, but not a Greek Island. Cyprus is a presidential republic and not under any Greek government jurisdiction. It is a member of the EU as is Greece and 27 other countries. It is really an eye-opener for me commenting on this website of the the lack of common knowledge of some of the commentators. It has shown me that my comments should be based on the most basic concepts otherwise they will not be understood by some.
Pfmd3/25/2023 3:27 am
Panagiotis: I have lived in Cyprus among the Cypriot people for several months. I shared their food, culture, and prayed in their Orthodox Churches. I developed close relationships with many Cypriots including government officials and Church hierarchs. I spent many hours with the local population inside their homes and celebrated their holidays and feasts. The comment that I made concerning the Cypriot identity as not being “Greek” is made from a knowledge and an insight that perhaps you do not possess. The Cypriots consider themselves as separate from the Republic of Greece as the UK considers itself separate from the USA. Perhaps your comment of my Anti-Orthodoxy and Anti-Russian beliefs stems from a knee-jerk reaction to protect the “Greeks” on a website that is filled with anti-Greek and anti-Russian commentary not curtailed or monitored by the editor.
Panagiotis12/17/2022 4:41 am
To Orthodox Brother Theo: God Bless You Brother. Also, I should note that Greek Cypriot people belong to ethnic GREEK Orthodox Churches in the diaspora, I.E. there are NO Cypriot Churches in the diaspora as far as I know. Also Greek Cypriots in the diaspora intermarry with other Greeks and they and their children consider themselves Greek. The powerful cohesive internationalists want to keep the Greek People weak, plain and simple. This is what they are now doing in the Ukraine, trying to weaken the Russian Orthodox People and Russian Orthodox Church. They are using the Ukrainian Orthodox People as cannon fodder, and they are laughing while our Orthodox Brothers are killing each other. These are very devious and Sinister people and they hate ALL Orthodox people. They are masters of lies and deceit. I hope and pray that my Orthodox Brothers are not brainwashed by the never-ending stream of anti-Russian propaganda coming from the sewer mouths of the West. Don't believe what these masters of lies and propaganda say! Glory be to our God Jesus Christ. Just my humble opinion.
Theo12/8/2022 3:21 pm
Paulfmd, you are speaking nonsense. Cyprus is a Greek island, no different to Crete, Rhodes, Lemons, Lesvos, Corfu, Zakynthos or whatever. It is only because of high end politics, geo politics and world power interference, that Cyprus is not part of Greece. As for the people there, they are Greeks, speak Greek, Greek cultured and identify as Greeks, they have their own uniqueness, like in any part of the Greek world, Macedonia, Pontos, Thessaly, Crete, Spartan or wherever. A very minuscule % who lean communist, promote a "Cyoriot" identity.
Paulfmd12/4/2022 4:57 am
I believe there is a misunderstanding here. Cyprus is not “Greek”. Cyprus is Cyprus. Cypriots do indeed speak the Greek language with a local vernacular, and they share many customs with their Greek brethren, but they do not consider themselves “Greek”. They consider themselves as Cypriots. This is a mistake many Greeks make concerning Cyprus.
Georgios Grivas12/3/2022 6:07 pm
Theo. Also watch the very first part of this latest video where Mitr. Morfou, Neofytos speaks about what it means to be ''Cypriot''. Also for those interested in the same video, he speaks about his position on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at 1hour 14 minutes into the video
Georgios Grivas12/3/2022 3:34 pm
Theo. Cyprus is Greek. Not Russian. Romanian. british. Or "Cypriot". There is no such thing as "Cypriot". The Republic of Cyprus is a false construct by the colonial british to keep us under their jackboot.
Peter C.12/2/2022 5:35 pm
It may not be much of a concern for me since I'm not Orthodox, but even so, their fights give the Orthodox Church a bad image. I read the articles on this site because I like to get informed from the sources, even so, you argue too much. Since my forte is politics, I think that they should not give so much importance to the Nation-States. Citizenship is just a document, it is not a metaphysical reality.
Jesse Dominick12/2/2022 1:12 pm
Theo, you're talking about countries, and we're talking about Local Churches, which are defined territorially.
Ivan12/2/2022 12:42 pm
Theo: Look, this is a tempest in a teacup. The synod made a decision, and that's it. You're saying that people who bought their citizenship shouldn't be allowed to vote. But they are citizens, and so according to the Synod's decision, they have the right to vote. Also, you are confusing state politics with Church policies. Every country has its own situation. Cyprus is a unique place. And Russians are not the only foreigners there in huge numbers. Let the Church of Cyprus--and all the other Churches--make their own decisions. The problem comes when one Church starts telling the others what to do.
David12/2/2022 10:32 am
Theo: Who is trying to "change" the country? This is a Church election. Any Orthodox Christian who is a part of their communities, tithing, living, and loving should not be disenfranchised because they have a Russian passport (let's be honest, that is what this is really about). It wasn't a problem before, it shouldn't be one now. I am a supporter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and am sympathetic to the OCU's position (although my opinion on their status mirrors Archbishop Anastasios of Albania's), but disenfrachising those people in Cyprus because they are Russian is despicable.
Theo12/2/2022 3:33 am
@Jesse Dominick, Cyprus is a country for Cypriots, Romania for Romanians, Serbia for Serbs, Georgia for Georgians, Greece for Greeks etc. You are aware of the notion of the nation state right? It is not America, Australia, Germany, UK, Canada etc, you are correct, the aforementioned are Orthodox countries and the people there decide, not foreigners who paid money to get citizenship, to gain status and to then change or influence their new countries.
Antiochene Son12/1/2022 8:33 pm
@Theo: If there are Serbs resiging in Romania, they are under the Romanian Church and therefore should be able to vote in Romanian church elections. You have a very phyletistic view of the Church if you think each local church only exists for a certain ethnicity and not everyone who lives there.
Antiochene Son12/1/2022 8:30 pm
@Theo: The Church knows no blood except the blood of Christ, which flows in the veins of every Orthodox Christian. Every Orthodox resident of Cyprus is under the omophor of a Cypriot bishop and therefore should have a right to vote.
Editor12/1/2022 6:01 pm
Peter C.: The Orthodox Church is organized in such a way that each Patriarchate or Local Church has its own charters for procedures in the appointment of a new head of the Church when the old one dies. In general, peoples' votes are submitted to a Synod, or council of bishops, who then put it once again to a vote. In some Churches, three candidates are taken from the results of the general voting, and then the new head of the church is drawn by lots. This is all because the Orthodox Church is what is often called conciliar, and trusts that the Holy Spirit works through these processes. Also, the laity is considered an inalienable part of the Church as a whole, and their love and respect for one or another bishop is considered an indication of his worthiness.
Peter C.12/1/2022 5:49 pm
I am not orthodox, could someone explain to me why the archbishop is elected democratically?
Jesse Dominick12/1/2022 9:28 am
Theo, and again you say it's not ethnophyletism but then turn around and immediately say ONLY the Greeks of Cyprus should be able to choose haha. If only we had a word in the Church for such an obsession with ethnicity... You know who should have a say? Anyone who's a parishioner. That's how Local Churches work. Previously any Orthodox Christian who lived in Cyprus for at least a year could vote - because by living there they become parishioners of that Local Church - unless you think Cyprus should be divided up into ethnic jurisdictions like the diaspora? You ask: "Should Serbs have a huge input on who is the head of the Romanian Church?" Well, are those Serbs living in Romania and are therefore parishioners of the Romanian Church? That's the obvious question. //Local// Churches are about //locality// not ethnicity or citizenship. If this new rule is just about time constraints, please tell us why it takes longer to register a Romanian living in Cyprus to vote than it does to register a Cypriot Greek who just turned 18 and is therefore new to the voting registers?
Theo12/1/2022 7:52 am
@Jesse Dominick, not sure about your comprehension skills there. Anything to do with Greece, Greeks or the Greek Orthodox Churches, people like you always brand and jump to the "ethnophyletism" card, but are silent against the other Orthodox Churches, the double standards are not lost on anyone who follows your stuff, I wonder why that is? The Greeks of Cyprus should be the ones, who have the say on who their Church Leader should be, simple as that. Should Serbs have a huge input on who is the head of the Romanian Church? should Greeks have an overwhelming say in who is the head of the Polish Church? should Russians have the say in who leads the church in Georgia, it's a NO, not sure what "ethnophyletism" has to do with it, it is their countries, their churches, their business.
Panagiotis12/1/2022 3:27 am
There are Orthodox Christian immigrants scattered throughout Europe that belong to local Churches that are a different jurisdiction than their Church of their Mother Country. I would imagine these immigrants may financially support their local Church that they are apparently members of, and I would imagine that they may participate in decision-making of their local Church, like voting for local Church Council. Therefore, why would non-citizen Orthodox Christians in Cyprus not be allowed to participate in this vote for the new Archbishop? Is it because they may vote for the most conservative candidate? If I am missing something concerning this, then please let me know. I urge my Greek Brothers in Cyprus, who I know are very conservative, to do the right thing, and vote for the most Conservative candidate, and I think they know who that is. I hope they REMEMBER what happened back in the early 1970s. Greek Brothers in Cyprus were ready to unify with the Motherland of Greece. But powerful forces did not want that to happen, and the Turks savagely and ruthlessly invaded, killing and injuring many, and occupying our land to this day. Western Powers did nothing to help the Greek People of Cyprus, I.E. they stuck a knife in the back of the Greeks of Cyprus. I read that Henry Kissinger allegedly gave the green light for the Turks to invade. An Orthodox Brother on this website left a post on a different article about alleged disturbing comments allegedly made by Henry Kissinger about the Greek People. Let us also not forget the disastrous Greco Turkish War, when the Greeks were allegedly encouraged by Western Powers to move inland, and then were allegedly not given the sufficient resources to win, and the Turks overwhelmed them, and the Greeks suffered massive losses at Smyrni and elsewhere. Our people drowned trying to escape. Our people were butchered like dogs and burned alive. Little children, elderly, and women. Blood of our blood and bone of our bones. REMEMBER this Greek Cypriot Brothers. There are powerful wealthy internationalist forces that do not want the Greek People to be unified under one large Conservative Strong Greek Nation from Cyprus to Northern Epirus to the Eternal Hellenic Byzantine City of Constantinople. Just like there are cohesive and sinister forces that are trying to weaken our Conservative Russian Brothers and the Conservative Russian Orthodox Church. They want to keep the Orthodox People down low, down weak, down miserable. They want to infest our lands with no good liberal garbage movements. Let us pray to ALMIGHTY GOD and the PANAGIA to give knowledge to the Greek Cypriot People so they DO THE RIGHT THING. Just my humble opinion.
Jesse Dominick11/30/2022 3:01 pm
Theo, it's pretty funny how you say it's not about ethnophyletism, then you turn around and say non-Cypriots shouldn't be allowed to vote :) As if the flock of a Local Church is determined by ethnicity or citizenship, not locality...
David11/30/2022 2:16 pm
There are also long-term expats of various nationalities who don't take that country's citizenship, but pay taxes and contribute in every other way. Why should they be disenfranchised from the Church vote, when they likely tithe and contribute to the well-being of the Church? The Archbishop's repose was long expected, and they had plenty of time to prepare for this vote (and as was noted elsewhere, non-Cypriots voted in the last one). Why change now? THAT is the scandal. The timing and circumstances of this decision. Will Russian expats who were disinfrachised because they are Russian still feel "wonderful?" I doubt it. I have no stomach for MP partisanship but this is wrong, and I truly hope and pray you are right, that schism doesn't come from it. But if it does, the Cypriot Synod bears responsibility.
Ivan11/30/2022 1:26 pm
David: No, I think this is perfectly fair. There are so many non-Cypriots living in Cyprus, and not only Russians. Anyone who has been serious about living in Cyprus and being part of its culture has citizenship there. There are many Russians and Ukrainian wives of Cypriots, who have citizenship. So, it's not ethnophyletism, because that will inevitably include some non-Greeks. And I'm sure that any Church-going Russians will be content with the result, because they are living in a wonderful, Orthodox country. And those who don't go to church--well what do they care? There are already Russian-speaking parishes under the Cypriot Church, and they did not break off under the former Archbishop when he accepted the OCU. So why would they do it now? You are making alarmist predictions that simply won't happen.
David11/30/2022 7:00 am
What a terribly sad decision, all things considered. Whatever the Synod's intentions, the perception will be that the Russian expat community was targeted and excluded, and that is almost certainly how it will be received by them. An MP presence in Cyprus is inevitable now, as many will no doubt leave to form their own parishes. Lord, have mercy.
Theo11/29/2022 11:11 pm
@Antiochene Son It's actually very prudent and has nothing to do with your ridiculous accusation. Foreigners should have no say on who an Archbishop is of a local church.
Alex11/29/2022 10:09 pm
Antiochene Son, yes ethnophyletism, and fixing the election so that a pro-Russian candidate would not win the election!
Antiochene Son11/29/2022 5:17 pm
That seems like ethnophyletism.
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