Nicosia, Cyprus, November 29, 2022
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.”