Cyprus Mail

Archbishop: errant theologian must be humbled

Andreas Pitsillides

Archbishop: errant theologian must be humbled
By Elias Hazou
THEOLOGIAN Andreas Pitsillides plans to appeal a decision by Church authorities by which he has been excommunicated for deviating from Christian Orthodox doctrine.
Last Friday, a Synod committee – comprising the bishops of Paphos, Tamasos, Trimithounta, Karpasia and Arsinoi – excommunicated the young theologian, citing his heretical views on Orthodox faith and teaching.
Pitsillides, a former DISY MP and MEP, said on Monday that should he be denied the right to appeal, he will take the matter higher up, all the way to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
But Archbishop Chrysostomos seemed unfazed, implying that the decision is irrevocable.
Should the errant scholar wish to return to the Church’s good graces, all he had to do is repent, Chrysostomos said.
“He must get a grip, he must be humbled. The Church has nothing personally against him…on the contrary, we love him dearly.
“If he asks for the mercy of the Church, the Church will welcome him back with open arms,” the Archbishop said.
That is unlikely to happen, judging by Pitsillides’ media blitz in the wake of the Synod decision.
The theologian claims that at least two members of the Synod committee have personally told him they disagree with the excommunication decision and the subsequent announcement.
He further contends that Friday’s proceedings were a sham. He had been under the impression that the Synod committee would simply ‘interrogate’ him.
Moreover, during his presence there no ‘sentence’ was pronounced.
He was later shocked to hear of the excommunication decision. As such, Pitsillides is demanding the minutes of the Synod committee.
That aside, it is not even clear what punishment the Synod meted out. As Pitsillides interprets it, he has not been excommunicated per se – cast out of the Church entirely – but rather banned from taking Holy Communion until such time as he repents.
Social media were abuzz over the weekend, with several politicians and public figures slamming the Church’s harsh treatment of the theologian.
On Monday the AKEL party issued a measured statement:
“We are saddened by the decision of the Church to excommunicate a citizen. This anachronistic decision harks to eras gone by when the right to free speech was not guaranteed.”
Pitsillides, something of a local television celebrity, landed himself in trouble with ecclesiastical authorities by advancing a more ‘progressive’ style.
The theologian feels the Church is pushing people away with its stale rhetoric which seems out of touch with modern-day life.
Church leaders found offensive his views on several issues, such as abortion, confession, communion, and homosexuality.
In one earlier outburst, on radio, an animated Pitsillides slipped up and addressed the Archbishop as “re”, which in the Greek vernacular roughly translates to “hey you.”

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