Despite being seriously ill for the last few days, Archbishop Chrysostomos II maintains his sense of humour, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Saturday after visiting the prelate.

Speaking after a 9.30 trip to the archbishopric, Anastasiades said he had visited in light of “the seriousness of the situation.

“I have to say that His Beatitude is fully communicating, maintains his sense of humor but, of course, the situation, as his doctors have said, is difficult,” he added.

“I wish all the best. He is strong, as I see it, as he has always been. I wish him well.”

Asked if the Archbishop mentioned any of his wishes, Anastasiades replied “no. He asked me if there was any prospect on the Cyprus issue and I informed him that in November I would have a meeting with both the French President and the German Chancellor, with a proposal for an initiative by the European Union. He smiled contentedly and said ‘I wish’.”

On Friday the archbishop’s doctors said he was in a critical but stable condition.

Archbishop Chrysostomos suffers from intestinal cancer, which is said to have metastasised to various organs.

He last travelled to Israel for treatment in July and has said in a recent interview that only God decides when a person’s time is up.

In the event of death, or irrevocable incapacitation, or if an archbishop is found to be of unsound mind, the throne is declared vacant, and a caretaker appointed. In Cyprus, the caretaker is always the Bishop of Paphos – no matter how many years he has served.

Forty days after the throne is declared vacant, elections are held for a new archbishop, the process overseen by the caretaker.