Cyprus: There are geopolitical criteria for choosing next Archbishop, says contender for primatial throne

Paralimni, Cyprus, December 1, 2022

Met. Vasilios of Constantia. Photo: Met. Vasilios of Constantia. Photo:     

Ecclesiastical issues are not the only considerations in the upcoming election for the next primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, says one of the six hierarchical candidates.

Rather, geostrategic and geopolitical concerns must also be weighed, says Metropolitan Vasilios of Constantia.

Speaking on Cypriot television, the hierarch said that the new Archbishop should enjoy the confidence of the Holy Synod, but the agreements between hierarchs will depend on which three candidates are chosen by the faithful, reports the Orthodoxia News Agency.

“The selection criteria,” he further noted, “are not only ecclesiastical, but also a matter of the geostrategic and geopolitical situations prevailing in the region and these will have a greater impact on the Archepiscopal elections.”

In the Cypriot Church, the faithful choose their three favorite candidates, and the Holy Synod then chooses one of those three to become the next primate. The faithful will cast their votes on December 18.

As OrthoChristian reported on Tuesday, the Holy Synod changed the Church statutes to allow only Cypriot citizens who are Orthodox to vote, whereas previously any parishioner of the Cypriot Church who had lived in the country for at least a year was eligible. This could impact the popular support for His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, whose metropolis is home to a sizable Russian diaspora.

Nevertheless, Met. Athanasios is the clear favorite in the polls, followed by Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamassos. Metropolitans Neophytos of Morphou, Georgios of Paphos, and Vasilios of Constantia are all close in taking the third position. Only Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Kyrenia seems completely unlikely to be among the top three.

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Ioann12/2/2022 5:40 pm
I have hope that Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol is acting with faith and foresight. The Ukrainian people are realizing their strengths including that of their Orthodox Christian faith. In the near future, the Ukrainian Orthodox will show themselves to be too strong to be controlled or compelled by either Moscow or Constantinople to play the pawn in their geopolitical games. They will become one Local Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, through the intercessions of St. Olga of Kyiv, Equal to the Apostles.
IG12/2/2022 10:48 am
Met. Neophytos is the only one who can carry this heavy burden and lead the nation to repentance, by God’s help and his friends(the saints)!
Theodoros 12/2/2022 7:36 am
I wonder if "geopolitical criteria" refers to the Turkish occupation of Cyprus and the ongoing Turkish aggression or the American involvement in the affairs of the Church of Cyprus. If it is the latter this is going to be bad. Under no circumstances should secular interests be permitted to interfere in the election of the Archbishop. Cyprus is after all an Orthodox country. One has to wonder what goes on when bishops visit the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Every time someone goes there, they completely change their established position regarding the canonical Ukrainian Church. Sad to see Metropolitan Isaiah become the latest betrayer of the canons. Metropolitan Athanasios has established a great reputation over the course of his ministry. It would be tragic if he were to betray the Ukrainian Church. Recent disturbing comments can be forgotten if he is elected and does the right thing and cease all ties with Dimenko's gang. Cypriot hierarchs should remember that American policies contributed to the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus. It would be madness to now allow American officials to dictate ecclesiastical policies over the Church of Cyprus. The Cypriot Church can still do the right thing. The Church of Cyprus was established by Saints Paul and Barnabas. They would not have permitted any compromise of the Church. The Church of Cyprus was also established as an autocephalous Church at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. That is the same council that deposed the heretic Nestorius of Constantinople. The Cypriots should remind Bartholomew of these two facts.
Antiochene Son12/1/2022 8:27 pm
Who sets these "geopolitical criteria"? The US State Department?
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