The elections for a new archbishop will be held on December 18, the Holy Synod said on Monday.
This will be the first public vote held after the amendment, which states that anyone who is Christian Orthodox and has been a citizen of Cyprus for at least a year has the right to vote for a new archbishop.
Georgios clarified that non-Cypriots who are not registered parishioners and wish to vote must register, submitting proof of their residency status and that they have been baptised Christian Orthodox.
It was also agreed that instead of the blank piece of paper normally used in such an election, ballots will be printed with the names and photographs of candidates.
He said this amendment was approved by the Holy Synod after a majority vote of 15 for and one against. Until now, parishioners could write down whomever they wanted to be archbishop, and could vote for essentially any senior rank of the clergy, including deacons.
It was also decided that government officials will supervise polling stations, where representatives of the candidates will be present.
Ioannis Charliaou, director of the central ecclesiastical fund, will be in charge of drawing up the electoral registers based on the areas covered by each parish, which will be different from the registers for political elections as they will exclude non-Christian Orthodox residents of these areas, such as Maronites, Armenians and Turkish Cypriots.
As for the enclaved, arrangements will be made so they can vote like they do in political elections.
As per the charter, elections should be held within 40 days of the throne being empty, and according to the Paphos bishop, the late archbishop’s 40-day memorial service will be held on the same day as the elections, “unless the Holy Synod decides to move it to December 17”.
Meanwhile Bishop Christoforos of Karpasia became the latest to throw his hat in the ring for the upcoming succession of the archbishop’s throne.
Georgios told reporters that he could not give an exact date for when this decision would come out, since the date could be moved if there are any issues with the registration of parishioners.
Asked why the elections were not allowed to take place after the Epiphany, he said that “some brothers did not want to, because while some are ready, they might not give others the chance to prepare.
“It is humane,” he said, adding that the decision taken was by majority.