Cyprus Mail
CM Regular Columnist

The last temptation

Archbishop Chrysostomos

THE TITLE of today’s article has been borrowed from another story, which has as its subject-matter the Resurrection of Christ. This was also the theme of the Easter Sunday message from the Archbishop of Cyprus, which was read out in Greek Orthodox churches across the island.

The Archbishop emphasised that “the Resurrection of Christ was a message of hope and victory for all.  It is a message of the ultimate victory of justice over injustice, of joy over sorrow, of life over death. It is a message of victory over all devastating forces. It is the beginning of a new life. The Resurrection of Christ is also an advanced notice of our own resurrection”.

He continued with a short speech about the Turkish occupation before going on the offensive by stating that “some of ‘our own people’, be they political parties or individuals, were exercising pressure for the acceptance of just any solution.

The daily coming and going to the occupied areas, was not for “a pilgrimage to our churches and the graves of our ancestors, but for trading with the occupation forces, for fun and for the use of the illegal airport operating there is disgraceful, he said.

The Archbishop did not fail to criticise the legislative acts that have dealt with the problems of abortion, “gender choice”, same-sex civil unions and “other similar issues” by stressing that this trend is a perversion, which did not contribute to progress or modernisation, but to degeneration.

He concluded that “we must systematically fight, in every direction, in order to force Turkey to withdraw from Cyprus and for restoring the human rights of our people and the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus”.

Let me explain what is bothering me.

The position of the Archbishop is perfectly clear. With God’s help, justice will ultimately prevail over injustice and, as a consequence, the Turkish invasion will be terminated, irrespective of the time it will take for this to happen. In the case of Constantinople, six centuries have elapsed. In the case of Asia Minor, one century has elapsed, in the case of northern Cyprus, half a century has elapsed. Could the position taken by the head of the Church be a dose of anaesthesia that will allow the amputation of northern Cyprus with the minimum possible pain?

His references, however, to “our people” – the inverted commas are his – who exercise pressure for the “acceptance of any solution” comprises an inherent contradiction, simply because the continuation, ad infinitum, of the partition of Cyprus that has been accomplished on the ground, is, indeed, the worst possible solution. The partition of Cyprus appears to be the “status quo” that the Archbishop is striving to maintain.

Also insulting was his reference to “the daily goings and comings to the occupied areas” “for transacting business with the occupation forces, for fun, for the use of the illegal airport”. To whom are your referring, your Beatitude? And how many are they? I suppose these are the people, whose needs the casinos that have been set up in the unoccupied part of Cyprus, are designed to serve; the casinos, which have been set up with your tolerance, not to say with your consent.

I am in a position to assure you that those who are struggling for the reunification of Cyprus do not frequent at the casinos of the north nor do they engage in “other transactions with the occupying forces”.  These people, however, do want to know – first hand – what is happening in the north so that they are in a position to assess the situation correctly and, thus, support those options that realistically could lead to the reunification of Cyprus.

The demonisation of Turkish Cypriots, which is attained by identifying them with Turkey, is yet another of the methods that are systematically used for consolidating the partition of our homeland. Let me inform you that there are many Turkish Cypriots who are particularly concerned with the political situation in the north and are equally frustrated and disappointed with the attitude of certain high ranking Greek Cypriots, who are doing everything possible to throw them into the arms of Turkey.

In your Easter message, your Beatitude, you blamed the collapse of the Cooperative movement to the corrupt elements of our society, who have abandoned the ideals of our faith and our home country. However, the undisputed truth is that the undermining of the Cooperative movement commenced many years ago and the protagonist in this process happened to be the right-hand of the then head of the Cyprus Orthodox Church.

Finally, in your message, you criticise the legislative acts that have dealt with abortions and the ‘changing’ of one’s gender or sex. The truth is that the act of sexual intercourse is a wonderful experience, which secures the survival of living organisms into perpetuity.

However, this act is the beginning of a long process which, ideally, should bring to this world human beings that are responsible and well-behaved, who will promote science, the arts and, in general, civilisation.

The insistence of the Church to see children being born whose expectant parents do not want to have them or are unwilling or unable to invest the very significant effort to raise them in a manner that will render them responsible members of our society, is something which I have never been able to understand.

Furthermore, if one was born without a clear sex orientation, what is the logic on the basis of which you believe that it is correct and fair to suffer at a time when science has the means to proceed with the necessary intervention?

Your overall thinking is leading you to the conclusion that “we must engage in a systematic struggle, in every possible direction, in order to force Turkey to depart from Cyprus and to fully restore the human rights of our people and the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus”.  I am not certain what you have in mind when you say that “we must fight”. I guess that you have defined and have implemented the necessary action steps, in which case we may reasonably ask why these efforts have not borne fruit.  If, on the other hand, you have not done anything, how is this inaction justified?

Because the temptation to say what I have said was irresistible and, as a consequence, I was unable to keep my mouth shut, I am conscious of the fact that my observations will cause sorrow and sadness. I sincerely hope and wish that this will be the last temptation and that it will not be necessary in the future to refer again to any religious leader and, in particular, the prelate of the Cyprus Orthodox Church in a non-complimentary manner.


Christos Panayiotides is a regular columnist for the Cyprus Mail, Sunday Mail and Alithia

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