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  • September 2022: Tensions in the Cyprus Orthodox Church over the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

In the period since the recognition in 2019 of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the issue of whether the Church of Cyprus would follow the Patriarchate’s lead or remain neutral caused a major split among the members of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus. The Archbishop proceeded on his own accord with the recognition of the new autocephalous Church and was criticised for his actions. Eventually, by late 2020, the synod formally approved his actions and recognised the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but the decision was not unanimous (10 in favour versus 7 against). Hence, the decision caused resentment among the dissenting members.

While this matter is by far the most important international issue that has preoccupied the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, it should be noted that it is translated and decoded locally with a very different domestic issue in mind. Namely, the ongoing discussion since 2021 concerns the succession of the Archbishop. Archbishop Chrysostomos II is a cancer survivor, and the race among contenders has been quite public for some time.

Reports in the press speculate over his likely successors and the attitudes vis-à-vis various candidates. The intention to revise the Church’s current Constitution in order to afford the current archbishop the opportunity to exclude specific contenders has been mentioned in several reports.

For further information and details on these matters, see:
 Λάμπρος Ζαχαρή “Κυπριακή εκκλησία: Διχάζει ακόμα το αυτοκέφαλο της Ουκρανικής εκκλησίας”, 19/11/2021
 ‘Εκκλησία της Κύπρου: Ποια «φόρμουλα» διαδοχής βρήκε ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος’ Dogma, 17 /03/ 2022
 Interview of Archbishop Chrysostomos II, 06/06/2022.

Please note that Cypriot newspapers regularly remove their old stories and do not maintain publicly available archives. The author has saved copies of the aforementioned sources.

D 15 September 2022    AVictor Roudometof

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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