Cypriots are a bit on the disobedient side, Archbishop Chrysostomos said on Tuesday calling on the faithful to stay at home after police launched probes into two bishops for encouraging people to attend church services.
Police are investigating the Bishops of Morphou Neophytos and of Trimithountos, Varnavas. The first, for holding mass on Sunday in a church in Peristerona, with the participation of members of the public, the latter for ignoring police warnings not to call on the faithful to attend church services.
Commenting on their behaviour, the archbishop said on Tuesday they are not children to be told by him what to do.
“They are educated people, theologians, they know these things, but this mindset is not right,” the archbishop told state broadcaster CyBC. He urged them to stop behaving that way.
The archbishop called on everyone to be patient and follow church services from home.
“We Cypriots are a bit disobedient. We learned not to easily obey, unfortunately, we do not discipline ourselves 100 per cent. This saddens me,” he said.
He added that everyone must obey the government decrees which are based on advice by experts.
The archbishop warned that unless coronavirus is eliminated and people go back to work, many will have serious financial problems, and that neither the government nor the church will be able to respond to people’s needs.
“Churches will not remain closed forever,” he said, adding that people will be able to attend services again in a few months’ time.
After the probe into the Bishop of Morphou Neophytos, police said they were also investigating the Bishop of Trimithounta, Varnavas.
Police chief Kypros Michaelides told Alpha TV that Varnavas had called on his congregation to attend church services despite being cautioned to refrain from such actions.
Michaelides said both cases were being investigated because the bishops’ actions concern incitement to criminal offence.
Police this week recalled that gatherings in places of worship were forbidden, with the exception of ceremonies such as weddings, funerals and christenings where only up to 10 people are allowed to attend.
The archbishop also said that this year he would not be making arrangements for the Holy Light to arrive from Jerusalem to the archbishopric like every year to avoid criticism that he received it while others did not. The Holy Light is traditionally passed on to the faithful at around midnight on Easter Saturday before the message of the resurrection is heard in churches.