Archbishop Chrysostomos has once more caused a stir after he appeared to refer to himself and President Nicos Anastasiades as thieves while testifying in an inquiry into the citizenship by investment programme.
The prelate went on television later in the day to explain that that was not what he meant. The government and most political parties opted not to comment on the matter while on social media, users took it as further proof of the extensive corruption in the country.
During his testimony on Tuesday, the archbishop said he was certainly interested in the country’s economy and the Cyprus problem, adding that every time he visited the president, the discussion started with the national issue.
In one conversation, according to Chrysostomos, he told Anastasiades: “President, you must understand there is no solution to the Cyprus issue. Turks want everything. Will you give it? … Any solution will collapse the next day. So, there is no solution, and you need to tell them clearly. President, you need to look at the economy, but we must all stop stealing, and I include myself. We must take care of our country’s economic issue.”
Knowing how outspoken the Chrysostomos is, the comment caused a stir, with people taking to social media to express their indignation.
The archbishop sought to clarify that what people understood was not what he meant.
Speaking on state television, Cybc’s evening news via telephone, the archbishop said certain spiteful people had misunderstood his use of plural.
“I meant that the president and I must weigh in to convince those who steal to stop. It did not mean that myself and the president are thieves, and we must stop,” he said.
The government remained tight-lipped over the issue, as did most of the usually vocal political parties.
Only opposition Akel had something to say on the issue.
“The archbishop attempted to refute the statement he made before the investigative committee, that is, that he advised the president to ‘stop stealing,’” Akel spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said, adding that he probably failed to convince many people.