Attorney-general Costas Clerides said on Thursday he had ordered an investigation into highly controversial comments made by Morphou Bishop Neophytos about homosexuals, as a war of words broke out between top clerics over the matter.
In a statement, Clerides said he has instructed the chief of police to launch a probe into the possibility of the commission of a criminal offence in relation with recent comments made by the bishop.
Archbishop Chrysostomos has distanced himself from his bishop’s comments, which drew widespread condemnation.
But the bishop of Kyrenia, also called Chrysostomos, has directly entered the fray and called on his Morphou counterpart to stop meddling with people’s sex lives.
“We believe a cleric should not meddle in couples’ bedrooms, Bishop Chrysostomos said in a statement. “In addition, from our experience in studying the work of the church’s holy people or through personal contact with them, we have not read or heard them refer to such matters in so much detail.”
The bishop of Kyrenia said he was expressing his personal position and that of his bishopric.
His comments prompted a response from Archimandrite Fotios, the principal deputy of Morphou Bishop Neophytos. In a lengthy statement with references to the scriptures on Thursday, Fotios accused Chrysostomos of offending the ethos and words of the church’s saints, old and contemporary, and altering the tradition of the Orthodox Church and the word of God as it is expressed in the Holy Bible.
“Orthodox life, my respected saint of Kyrenia, is not separated into holy and unholy moments, in life in church, in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms … there are no ethically neutral acts,” Fotios said. “The life of the Orthodox faithful, in all its manifestations and expressions, must be washed in the light of the Gospel, the light of Christ.”
Bishop Neophytos has been under fire since last week when it emerged he said during a speech in June that homosexuality is usually a problem transferred to a foetus when a pregnant woman has anal sex and enjoys it. The desire to do the same transfers to the foetus, he said.
He also said that gay men have a ‘nasty smell’ and a specific ‘stink’.
In the same speech, the bishop also said: “In a country that carries out so many abortions and murders its children, is it impossible that a murderer could be among us?”
The comment referred to the murders committed by serial killer Nicos Metaxas. The bishop said it was hypocritical to be saddened by the death of two children killed by Metaxas when Cyprus carries out so many abortions.
He said that the “murders” were finished and that Metaxas asked for forgiveness from a priest, and confessed to the priest