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Holy Synod decision angers opposition Akel

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Kyrenia Bishop Chrysostomos

Opposition Akel on Tuesday said it is disappointed with a Holy Synod decision to re-instate the late bishop of Kyrenia, who had been involved in a church coup against President and Archbishop Makarios III, ahead of a coup in 1974, which preceded the Turkish invasion.

In its decision on Monday, the Holy Synod reinstated then Kyrenia Bishop Kyprianos, who had in 1972 along with two other bishops, initiated procedures to defrock Makarios and also called on him to resign as president of Cyprus.

The issue came to a head with Makarios in 1973, when the three bishops met among themselves and decided to defrock Makarios.

Makarios then called a major synod of all the Orthodox churches, which was not attended by Greece or the patriarchate in Istanbul, where it was decided the three bishops’ decision was null and void.

Akel condemned the Holy Synod for reinstating Kyprianos, even after his death.

It questioned the decision of the church, as the ecclesiastical coup in combination with the political coup in 1974 led to the invasion.

The party added that the decision to reinstate Kyprianos causes anger because half a century later people are still dealing with the effects of the actions of the past.

“It provokes anger and indignation in all those who defended democracy and legitimacy in our country, when persons such as the deposed Kyprianos undermined it, even participating later in the inauguration of the eight-day Sampson [government], which proves that he remained unrepentant,” the party said.

Nicos Sampson’s government was inaugurated after the July 15 coup, and was a government run by Eoka B’ nationalists.

The coup then became the reason for the Turkish invasion, which followed five days later.

Kyprianos remained unrepentant about his actions, even saying that he would never want to be reinstated by the church as a dying wish.

Speaking to CyBC, Theologian Theodoros Kyriacou said that in 1982, when asked to request forgiveness, Kyprianos said he did not want to be reinstated by the Holy Synod, as the bishop of Paphos Gennadios, also involved in the coup, had done at the time.

The Kiti bishop Anthimos was also reinstated then, after his death.

“It [the decision] has nothing to do with the history [of the issue],” he said.

Kyriacou added Kyprianos said he did not want to be reinstated after being defrocked, therefore the decision of the synod to reinstate him goes against his wishes.

Asked why the synod made the decision, Kyriacou said: “The Holy Synod made the decision because it wants to show that it has the nationalist role it had in the past.”

He went on to say that the totality of the decisions on Monday were in the vein of showing their nationalist role, by memorialising the unofficial ‘enosis’ referendum conducted in churches in Cyprus in the 50s calling for union with Greece.

Kyriacou said that it also did it with the decision calling on all orthodox churches in Cyprus and Greece to hold ceremonies and memorials as 2024 will mark 50 years since the Turkish invasion.

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