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Cyprus

Akel: Church should have no say in divorce procedures

File photo of an Orthodox wedding

Akel MP Aristos Damianou has accused the government of insisting on giving the Church a say in family law, insisting on anachronistic practices that have no place in a secular state.
Damianou said Cyprus was the only EU state and member of the Council of Europe that involved the Church in the divorce process.

“In the year 2021, with the government decisions, the Church of Cyprus maintains rights of involvement in divorce procedures,” Damianou said. “This thing takes us back, it is an anachronism, and it is unacceptable.”

Even in bills under discussion for years, the government has included references that were embarrassing for a state that called itself modern, the Akel MP said.

According to the bill “marriage means marriage that has been ordained in accordance with religious rules,” Damianou said.

The parties – Greek Cypriots — must also give notice the district bishop stating the intention to file a divorce, after which the bishop invites the parties to a meeting in a bid to reconcile their marriage.

If the bishop fails, the parties can go ahead and file a divorce petition in court.

The petition must be accompanied with the original notice receipt from the Bishop and the certificate of dissolution of the Spiritual marriage from the Church of Cyprus.

All these remind of procedures and practices of past ages, Damianou said, urging the government to cooperate in approving a family law reform package that served the contemporary needs of Cypriot society.
“Or else, half-hearted solutions that preserve dogmatically anachronistic provisions cannot and should not be accepted.”

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