We need fewer religious processions in Cyprus, says new Archbishop

Nicosia, December 29, 2022

Photo: romfea.gr Photo: romfea.gr     

Frequent processions with wonderworking icons and relics aren’t a part of Cypriot tradition and should be curbed, believes the new Archbishop of Cyprus.

In an interview with Alpha News, Abp. Georgios said that the Cypriot Church needs to return to its tradition of monasticism, which allows great freedom for those who want to follow this path, reports Romfea.

Formerly the Metropolitan of Paphos, Abp. Georgios was elected by the Cypriot Holy Synod on Saturday after coming in second place in the vote of the faithful, with 18.39% of the vote (Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol came in first with 35.68%).

In his recent interview, he also said that the frequent holding of processions with relics and miraculous icons isn’t part of Cypriot tradition, but comes from the influence of other Churches.

“Many times this is also done for financial reasons, but we must pay particular attention to it, because it’s influenced by foreign Churches and we must preserve our tradition,” the new primate said.

“We will deal with it as a Holy Synod so that we can find a good balance. This can’t continue like this,” he said.

Reports from Greek Orthodox outlets such as Romfea show that the Greek people have a great love for their wonderworking icons and religious processions.

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Pfmd1/5/2023 1:23 am
There are a few non-Greek and non-Russian orthodox converts of the American persuasion on this site that treat Orthodoxy as they do their favorite NFL teams. This is how I know they are Americans! They always keep “score” and feel that their “team” must be defended whenever anyone, either religious or laity makes any type of a comment about their “team”. They argue about anything and everything just for the sake of keeping “score”. There arguments are without fruit and without merit or substance, but only for sake of keeping “score” for their team. Most other Orthodox believers on this site go back generations. They have lost family members as martyrs for Orthodoxy through the hands of the Turks and the Jews//Bolsheviks, but I don’t hear from them. Instead the loudest, most senseless and most virulent voices are the new American Orthodox converts, who are now telling us loudly and boisterously how to conform our ancient religion to their whims and style. Anathema!
Editor1/4/2023 8:32 am
Jason: We do not block level-headed comments, but we do block blatant misinformation.
Ephraim1/4/2023 5:02 am
@Panayotis kneeling on Sundays is forbidden by the Canons of the Church. I'm sorry to inform you this but many of the "customs" you grew up with as a child were not traditional or correct either. Frequent communion for example was the norm throughout Orthodox history. It was sadly lost later in time, due to many factors. Luckily many Saints have restored frequent communion. Of course, someone has to be fasting and going to Confession at least every 3-4 weeks. But that doesn't change that frequent communion IS the real Orthodox standard and tradition. We should never kneel or prostrate on Sunday. Sunday is the day of Resurrection and that is why the Canons forbid kneeling on Sundays. Also responding to the Priest IS an ancient custom which has sadly been lost. Liturgy literally means "work of the people". We the people, are supposed to respond to the Deacon or Priest with "Kyrie Eleison". We the people are supposed to respond with "Amen". Sections like the Cherubic hymn are left to the chanters, but the ancient tradition is for the laity to PARTICIPATE in the services.
Jason Th.1/4/2023 12:34 am
What's funny is that on this Russian website, you have constant comments labelling the Greeks as apostates and heretics, as well as constant bashing of the Greek Orthodox Church. Yet we see level headed comments and questioning of what Moscow, deleted, banned and blocked.
m. Cornelia1/1/2023 2:10 pm
Panayotis: What I meant was, the Greek Church mandated these changes, and because the Church and state were not separated, it was enforced by the state. Alexander: Let's not call the Greeks all impious. They good people, but to err is human.
Panayotis12/31/2022 10:41 pm
Nun Cornelia, thanks for your detailed reply. The Greek all-night vigil and the Russian vigil are two different animals. The Orthowiki entry on the topic does a good job of explaining the differences. If the Greek government banned anything, it wasn’t the all-night vigil of Russian practice since that’s not the vigil that St. Nicholas Planas was serving. He was doing the “marathon” vigils of Greek practice which one still finds in some parishes there but whose length makes regular usage impractical at the parish level so they are more commonly shortened if and when they are served. But again, the Greek government played no role in formulating the Greek practice of serving vespers in the evening while doing orthos in the morning.
Panagiotis12/31/2022 5:24 pm
Processions have been a custom in Greek Lands and in the diaspora, at least twice a year, on Holy Friday and August 15th (Dormition or Assumption of the Theotokos). Greek People have great love and respect for our religious processions..... When I was a child, people only took Holy Communion a couple times a year, and they had to go to confession and fast before communion, including children. Now in some Churches people are taking Communion it seems every week. Are these people fasting? Are these people going to confession? I know +++ St John of Kronstadt +++ encouraged frequent Communion, but the people had to go to confession and fast..... When I was a child everyone kneeled on Sunday during the appropriate time (after the Priest said "Thine Own of Thine Own"). Now some people are standing! And some are verbally responding to the priest like Catholics apparently do! Everyone should be kneeling and silently praying, and the only ones heard should be the Priest and the male chanters. Why was this changed? Another change in some churches is this handshaking and kiss of peace nonsense. This was never done when I was a child! Why is this being done now? Is it because the Catholics apparently do this, and there is a move to unify with Rome? Put the pieces of the puzzle together my friends. We have to return to our old traditional Conservative Orthodox customs and beliefs, including segregating men and women in the Church, removing the pews in those churches that have it (except a bench along the wall for old people as it used to be done), women wearing head covers and long dresses, Etc..... I am Strong Orthodox and I will always be..... Just my humble opinion.
m. Cornelia12/30/2022 11:09 pm
Panayotis, I would suggest you read the book, Papa Nicholas Planas. The events in Greece surrounding the banning of All-Night Vigils (as well as the change to the Gregorian calendar) is talked about there. I know that Orthros means dawn, just as Matins is Latin for morning. But not all church services are of a Vigil rank. Traditionally, as on Mt. Athos, the Vigil service is so long that although Orthros follows Great Vespers, it begins at dawn. The Russians also chide themselves for serving Matins in the evening (the word in Russian for Matins is "ytrenie", which means "morning services"), but they do it because the Vigil service is also served in parishes, where people can't pray all night. And monasteries also often conform to parishioners' schedules. It's a matter of choice, but what I was saying is that in Greece, if I am not mistaken that there simply is no choice anymore for parishes. Confession before Communion is not a choice in the Russian tradition, while it is a matter of choice for Greeks. I am sure that pious Greeks have frequent confession, but not necessarily just before Liturgy or the night before. But I may have to stand corrected about confession before Communion being always practiced in Greece. I don't know how it was in the Byzantine Empire. If you do, it would be interesting to learn about it. My main point is that there is nothing exclusively Russian about All-night Vigils and confession before Communion. I am sure that these traditions have been fluid throughout the Orthodox world.
Panayotis12/30/2022 10:25 pm
“ The Greek Church was forced by the Greek government at the turn of the 20th century to break up the Vigil services into Vespers in the evening and Matins in the morning. Matins as a result were truncated to fit them in before the Liturgy. So, this is a universal Orthodox practice that was changed by the Greeks but retained by the Russians.” This bit cannot be correct. The Greek word for orthros translates as “dawn” or “early morning.” Also, serving Orthos in the morning is done across all the ancient patriarchates which the Greek government had and has no jurisdiction over. The comment that confession before every communion is tradition is incorrect as well.
Alexander 12/30/2022 7:54 pm
@David: Sorry, but greeks are impious! To cover the hair for example is absolute greek. If you look at ancient paintings, fotos... you will see greek women with covered hair STANDING IN CHURCH, PROSTRATING AND KNEELING. Now it is like a russian Tradition, what is nonsense. The same with the Calendar. Greeks have lost Holy Tradition. They are apostates.
Antiochene Son12/30/2022 4:42 pm
The Paraklesis was born of processions, what is this character talking about?
m. Cornelia12/30/2022 3:27 pm
David: Agreed! Although I have to add, it seems to me that it is often neither Greeks nor Russians who get into this fruitless Greek practice vs. Russian practice debate, but converts who came to Orthodox through one or another tradition.
David12/30/2022 2:39 pm
Mother Cornelia: I don't think I said that fund raising was a "Russian Practice." What I said was (and His Beatitude seems to be saying) that in Cyprus, there are some circumstances that are questionable to him, and that it will be brought to the Holy Synod. As for the All-Night Vigil and Confession, I mentioned those debates to illustrate that the tone and tenor of this article can be read as a slap at the "impious Greeks," with the Vigil and Confession being two other examples where some Russian tradition partisans look down on the Greek practice. It is THAT chauvinism and arrogance that I was criticizing. That is all. At no point did I imply or say that this was what the Archbishop said. Perhaps I could have been more clear on that, my apologies. My point still stands, however. This need not be a Greek VS Russian thing, but it becomes that all too often. Russia also changed its practices due to various pressures, including the Petrine Reforms and the Communist Yoke. Nobody should be looking down on ANYBODY.
m. Cornelia12/30/2022 1:02 pm
David: Corrections. 1. Religious processions to raise money are not a Russian tradition. I don't know whose tradition that is, but certainly not Russian. Now, monasteries on Mt. Athos have brought relics to Russia with a side-purpose of raising money for the monastery, but there is really nothing wrong with that. 2. All-night Vigil is a Russian practice, but it was previously a Greek practice as well. The Greek Church was forced by the Greek government at the turn of the 20th century to break up the Vigil services into Vespers in the evening and Matins in the morning. Matins as a result were truncated to fit them in before the Liturgy. So, this is a universal Orthodox practice that was changed by the Greeks but retained by the Russians. 3. Confession before Communion is also a universal practice that was lost in the Greek and Balkan Churches due to Ottoman pressures. But Archbishop Georgios did not mention confession before Communion here. Nor did the news article. You are extrapolating and putting words in the news-writer's mouth.
chrysostome12/30/2022 11:57 am
I am amazed to read that a primate wants lesser processions ! what kind of an apostle is he ? I leave in a country -France- where the right of procession is limited and hard to obtain.. What does he mean by refering to local tradition ? aren't processions a mean of prayer of the whole orthodoxy ?
Seraphim12/30/2022 10:50 am
This implies that there is somehow something wrong with processing with wonderworking icons, or with relics. It's a good thing the Moscow Patriarchate cut ties with this Church. Anaxios!
Ignatius12/30/2022 9:47 am
Lord have mercy! It’s ironic he says the frequent processions with wonderworking icons and relics should be “curbed” because they are not part of Cypriot tradition and are from “other churches”. To what other “churches” is he referring? Frequent processions with wonderworking icons and relics sounds pretty Orthodox to me. By curbing them, it sounds like he wants to make the Church in Cyprus less Orthodox and MORE like “other “churches””.
David White12/30/2022 8:20 am
Religious processions are a good thing, and part of the Greek tradition as well. Archbishop George is not saying otherwise. What he is saying, is that frequent processions are, to my understanding, not part of the Greek Tradition (specifically Cypriot). Rather, they are done on special days and to commemorate specific things. Additionally, if Churches are doing this to raise money, even if only indirectly, that is a gross abuse of the practice. It's like introducing a Russian style All-Night vigil in parish practice. Not wanting that is not necessarily a sign of impiety. Why encourage sneering at the Greek Churches? The headline is misleading. I see this with Confession too. "Those modernist Greeks never confess!" Nevermind that Frequent Confession as practiced by the Russians was never the norm, and that Greeks have their own Confessional practice much more closely tied to Monastic spiritual fathers (an abridged and modified "revelation of thoughts" style), as they were often the only ones with the blessing to hear Confessions. Less frequent, but much more conversational and intensive. Quantity is not an indicator of quality. The Russian practice is fine for Russians, just as the Greek practice is fine for Greeks.
Alex12/30/2022 2:41 am
Wrong, Archbishop Georgios, processions with wonderworking icons IS an ORTHODOX tradition! GO back to the seminary!
СТЕПАН12/29/2022 11:23 pm
Colossians 3:11 "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all." any tradition,they have got nothing to do with our faith, isn't it?
anonsayswhat12/29/2022 10:23 pm
Already off to a great start... "No we don't want litanies and processions... they are not apart of our holy traditions... Oh hello Rome, wanna unite? lol, we got so much in common now."
Alex12/29/2022 9:44 pm
Influence of other "Churches"? "foreign Churches"? I thought there is One Holy Apostolic Catholic Church called the Eastern Orthodox Church but it seems the Greeks forgot about that and know only the Greek Orthodox Church. Do they realize they are the only ones recognizing the schismatics in Ukraine? Jerusalem Patriarchate doesn't recognize them, Romania doesn't, Bulgaria doesn't, Serbia doesn't, Georgia doesn't. When will they tell Patriarch Theophilos that he is in the wrong?
Mikhail12/29/2022 9:14 pm
Is this man drinking kool-aid? I stayed silent, but now I must say that my suspicions were accurate. Metropolitan Athanasios received double the votes as this man. The people wanted Metropolitan Athanasios. But no...the Synod chose this man...against the will of the people. He will be a carbon copy of the last Archbishop...including recognition of the OCU schimatic heretics and the slavery to the will of P. Bartholomew. It is par for the course. I see P. Bartholomew's fingerprints all over this.
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