The women’s organisation Pogo on Thursday called for a protest outside the Holy Synod when it meets on June 13 to decide the fate of the former Bishop of Kiti, Chrysostomos, who has been convicted of indecent assault on a teenage girl in 1981.
Despite the conviction, there was outrage that he only received a 12-month sentence that was suspended for three years. The Synod is to meet next Tuesday amid demands that the former bishop be defrocked. Some reports have suggested he may only be demoted.
Pogo said in a statement: “We completely separate the decisions of the Holy Synod from the decision of the court that found the former bishop of Kiti guilty of indecent assault against a minor.”
“At the same time, however, we recognise the important position that the Church of Cyprus holds for a large part of society and the effect it has on the people’s perceptions,” the statement added.
In this context, Pogo said, it was inviting everyone to a symbolic protest outside the Archdiocese 9am on June 13 “with a request to remove the culprit”.
“Any other decision is going to offend people’s sense of justice, giving the message that such acts can be tolerated,” it said.
The plaintiff now aged 58 – was 16 at the time she was assaulted. After the court hearing, she told reporters she had expected to hear a symbolic sentence – not a suspended one.
In her ruling, Judge Evi Efthymiou said she took into account the former bishop’s advanced age of 85, and his health issues, as well as the time that had elapsed since the case began. The plaintiff pressed charges in 2021.
The judge did however express disappointment with the former bishop’s attitude that was at times “arrogant and sarcastic”, she said.