The Bishop of Morphou has issued a statement in support of a doctor arrested by police in connection with a large protest last Sunday by people opposing the government’s vaccination programme and tightened SafePass measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus that led to violence.

Elpidoforos Soteriades, who was a speaker at Sunday’s event, is suspected of being among the organisers or instigators.

In a statement, the Morphou bishopric said it was saddened by Soteriades’ unjustified arrest and detention after his “nice and substantiated speech at the rally against government measures to tackle the coronavirus”.

Soteriades’ training and his multifaceted work can be attested by hundreds of people, who have even been infected by Covid-19 and who had been helped by the doctor to overcome the illness with “special medication”, the statement said without elaborating.

It went on to say that Soteriades was among the scientists and doctors who, throughout the pandemic, has been publicly stating his scientific view on how to tackle it with honesty, boldness, and thorough substantiation.

“Mr Elpidoforos’ swift release is primarily demanded by those who are ill, and then his family and friends,” it said.

“Mr Elpidoforos, as well as other doctors and scientists of international status … have proven that there is another treatment without the serious consequences of the therapies imposed from above.”

Soteriades has spoken against the vaccination programme and government restrictions on movement.

He has also suggested that Covid’s morbidity and mortality were similar if not milder than the flu.

Morphou Bishop Neophytos has been vociferous about the coronavirus pandemic and his opposition to the vaccine, despite the Holy Synod encouraging the faithful to get inoculated. He said he would not get the jab, because he did not want to become like a genetically modified product.

“I will not become a mutated product of the new order of things, just like the tomatoes we eat year-round and which and are sick and tasteless. That is how the world will become, sick and tasteless,” the bishop said last December.

The bishop was also accused of breaking measures against the spread of coronavirus by encouraging his congregation to attend church services when they were banned and refused to pay a fine imposed on him for his actions.