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  • May 2017: Bill removing religion from civil marriage documents

The Cypriot government wants to pass a bill removing religious affiliation from civil marriage documents. The bill was supposed to be examined in commission at the House. The aim of this bill is to abolish the obligatory written statement concerning the religion of persons intending to marry. The government is following the recommendations of the Human Rights Commissioner in Cyprus, Eliza Savvidou (ΑΚΡ/ΑΥΤ. 1/2016, in Greek) According to the Ombudswoman’s report, the disclosure of religious beliefs in this context “violates human rights, exposes persons to discrimination and violation of rights of a person in respect of privacy and freedom of thinking, conscience and religion.” She also expressed deep concerns over personal data protection and the possible discrimination faced by people having to report their religious affiliation. A public consultation on the bill has now been undertaken by the Interior ministry.

  • March 2017: Inauguration of the 1st Russian Orthodox Church in Cyprus

In March 2017, the first Orthodox Church of the Russian tradition was inaugurated with the participation of Greek Cypriot and Russian hierarchs, in Episkopi, in the district of Nicosia. The presence of President Nikos Anastasiades showed the importance the event, in light of the growth in the Russian Orthodox community and the strategic ties between Nicosia and Moscow, all the more important in times of economic crisis. On inauguration day, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, declared: “From now on this church will be a spiritual home for thousands of the Russian-speaking people who reside in Cyprus or visit it. It will be a token of the lasting friendship between the peoples of Russia and Cyprus and of the centuries-old ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Cyprus.” (The Russian Orthodox Church).

D 21 July 2017    ANicolas Kazarian

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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