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Archbishop Kyprianos’ canonisation delayed due to Church rift

feature theo main archbishop kyprianos was executed by the ottomans in july 2021
Archbishop Kyprianos

Archbishop Kyprianos was not canonised on July 9, the anniversary of his execution at the hand of the Ottomans in 1821, because the Holy Synod refused to officiate the ceremony with Archbishop Chrysostomos due to a rift over his recognition of the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in 2020.

The canonisation of Archbishop Kyprianos has been on the Holy Synod’s radar for a relatively long time and this year was thought to be the perfect occasion as it marked 200 years since his death.

However, due to the ongoing schism between the Archbishop and the Church’s top clergy, the official request to canonise Kyprianos has not yet been submitted.

The division in Cyprus started after Archbishop Chrysostomos commemorated the Metropolitan of Kiev and of Ukraine epiphany with the heads of those Churches, thus recognising the independence or autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine.

The Church of Ukraine was also recognised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in February 2019 but was excommunicated by the Patriarchate of Moscow, which considers Ukraine part of its canonical territory, by virtue of a concession from Constantinople dating back to 1682.

The same rift was also the reason why six out seven members of the Holy Synod did not attend the inaugural service at Nicosia’s new St. Barnabas Cathedral back in June, which was held in the presence of the Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens.

Along with Archbishop Kyprianos, the Holy Synod was reportedly planning to canonise an additional 486 prominent Cypriots who were executed by the Ottoman rulers on the island on July 9, 1821. However, the matter was never officially discussed by Cyprus’ top clergy.

Along with Archbishop Kyprianos, who was publicly hanged from a tree, the bishops of Paphos, Kition and Kyrenia, were also beheaded by the Ottomans.

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