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Paphos bishop Georgios elected new Archbishop of Cyprus (update 3, videos, photos)

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The Holy Synod on Saturday elected Paphos bishop Georgios as the new Archbishop of Cyprus.

The new archbishop received 11 votes, followed by Limassol bishop Athanasios with 4 votes while one bishop did not vote.

The election took place at the cathedral next to the archbishopric, after a Holy Mass had been held, officiated by the bishop who ranked last among all bishops in the running for the position of prelate who did not make it into the triumvirate, from which the new archbishop was chosen.

The Holy Synod on Saturday elected Paphos bishop Georgios as the new Archbishop of Cyprus.

The new Archbishop thanked god and his peers for choosing him, and said he would try to match the level of his predecessors.

He added, however, that “the long, 2,000-year-old history of our Church, along with the many people who have fought to keep this place Christian and Greek, make my knees buckle.

“Our country is waiting for its freedom and our people are waiting for us to solve their problems, many of which come from the invasion and occupation,” he said.

“I think that from today some people whose occupation was to wander from media outlet to media outlet exposing both the Church and themselves should stop,” he concluded.

The new archbishop received 11 votes, followed by Limassol bishop Athanasios with 4 votes while one bishop did not vote.

The election took place at the cathedral next to the archbishopric, after a Holy Mass had been held, officiated by the bishop who ranked last among all bishops in the running for the position of prelate who did not make it into the triumvirate, from which the new archbishop was chosen.

President Nicos Anastasiades spoke to the new Archbishop and also congratulated him on Twitter.

“Congratulations to Paphos Bishop George on his appointment as Archbishop of Nea Justiniana and all of Cyprus,” the president said.

“I am certain that under the enlightened leadership of the new Archbishop, the Church of Cyprus will continue its great spiritual work for the benefit of the people,” he added.

Statements of congratulation also flooded in from political parties.

After the voting process was completed, 15 of the members of the Holy Synod marched in procession to the old cathedral of Ayios Ioannis.

Inside the cathedral, the metropolitans and bishops signed the minutes of the Holy Synod.

After a prayer was held, the decision of the Holy Synod on the election of Paphos bishop Georgios as the new archbishop was read aloud.

The archbishop then entered the cathedral to cries of ‘worthy’ by members of the public who has gathered there. Bishop Georgios was the last to sign the minutes, which he did in red ink, a unique privilege bestowed upon the archbishop of Cyprus by Byzantine Emperor Zeno.

The new archbishop – the island’s 76th – will set the date of their enthronement, which, due to the holidays, will be after the Epiphany on January 6. According to the Cyprus News Agency, the date is likely to be February 19.

The late archbishop Chrysostomos II died aged 81 in November after a long battle with cancer.

The new Archbishop of Cyprus Georgios was born in Athienou on May 25, 1949. He graduated from the Pancyprian high school in 1967.

After receiving a scholarship from the Cyprus State Scholarship Foundation, he studied chemistry at the University of Athens between 1968 and 1972.

Following his graduation, he studied theology at the same university followed by further studies in England in both chemistry and theology.

On December 23, 1984, he was ordained as a Deacon under the Regional Bishop Salaminos Varnavas.

On March 17, 1985, he was ordained as an Elder and ordained an Archimandrite under the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos I.

He assumed the duties of Secretary of the Holy Synod in 1994, while, at the same time, also working as a chemistry teacher in secondary schools.

 

A few years after that he hit the headlines after being arrested and ill treated by Turkish troops during an anti-occupation demonstration in 1989, following which he lodged a complaint against Turkey with the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Europe.

In its decision, the Council of Europe condemned Turkey for the first time for violating human rights in Cyprus and imposed a monetary fine.

He was ordained as a bishop on May 26, 1996.

On December 29, 2006, he was elected Metropolitan of Paphos, assuming his duties the day after.

He represents the Church of Cyprus in the Pan-Orthodox Conferences and in the Dialogue with the Roman Catholics.

He is also the president of the Bioethics and Education committees of the Holy Synod.

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