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New Archbishop to be elected on Christmas Eve (Updated)

Paphos bishop Georgios, archbishop, archbishopric
Archbishop Georgios (Photo: Christos Theodorides)

The Holy Synod said on Thursday they will elect the new Archbishop out of the triumvirate on Christmas Eve.

Speaking to the media after a meeting of the Holy Synod, Paphos bishop Georgios, the caretaker of the throne, said the members of the Holy Synod will decide among the three who gathered the highest number of votes by the public on Sunday.

These are Limassol bishop Athanasios, who gathered a clear lead with 35.68 per cent of the votes, Georgios who got 18.39 per cent and Tamassos bishop Isaias with 18.1 per cent.

The election will take place after the church service this Saturday.

The new Archbishop will then address the public at the Ayios Ioannis Theologos church in Nicosia.

This was decided after the Holy Synod rejected the objections filed over the archbishop elections. On Wednesday, archbishopric elections commissioner Ioannis Charilaou said he had three objections before him but hinted they did not suggest something particularly worrying.

Georgios said one of the objections was filed by a man who had complained the person in charge of the ballot spoke to him inappropriately. This is a police issue, the bishop explained, adding that the other objection was “theoretical” and concerned a cleric on leave and whether he could be a candidate in the elections.

The third objection was rejected before it was opened, the caretaker of the throne said.

Objections are permitted for three days after the elections, which took place on Sunday, making Wednesday the deadline.

Commenting on Saturday’s vote, Georgios said “everyone has a formed perception of what they will do on election day”.

But the battle for the throne seems to be playing out between Athanasios and Georgios, with efforts for scrutiny and allegiances underway.

Later in the day, Bishop Nikiforos of Kykkos said he is in favour of the election of Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol as the new Archbishop since he received the majority of votes from the clergy and the public.

Earlier in the week, Constantia-Famagusta bishop Vasilios said he will hold individual meetings with each of the three bishops before making a decision on who he will vote for.

He explained in an interview with Alithia, that he had created a protocol over important matters, including the Cyprus problem, which he would ask them to sign.

Vasilios highlighted some bishops are opposed to any solution to the Cyprus problem and this immediately disqualifies them from the post.

For his part, controversial Morphou bishop Neophytos said considering all the speculation in the media on who would vote for who, he wanted to stress that his support was not “a given” for anyone.

The enthronement of the new leader of the Cyprus church will probably take place after the Epiphany Day, celebrated on January 6, according to the estimation of Bishop Georgios.

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