Chrysostomos II of Cyprus
|Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus|
Archbishop Chrysostomos II during a visit in Moscow.
|Church||Church of Cyprus|
|Installed||1 October 2006|
|Birth name||Herodotos Dimitriou|
|Born||10 April 1941|
Tala, British Colony of Cyprus
|Denomination||Eastern Orthodox Church|
|Alma mater||University of Athens|
At the age of 10 he lost his father and two years later, after finishing his elementary education, he joined the monastery of Ayios Neophytos in Paphos. He also attended Paphos Gymnasium, graduating in 1963. On 3 November, of the same year, he was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Trimithounda, Georgios.
For five years, he served as trustee of the monastery and also worked on a ranch. In 1968 he enrolled in the Theological School of the University of Athens and graduated in 1972. On 19 October 1972, he was elected as the hegumen (abbot) of the Monastery of St. Neophytos. On 12 November 1972, he was ordained a presbyter and was elevated to hegumen by Archbishop Makarios III.
He was elected Metropolitan (Bishop) of Paphos on 25 February 1978, and his episcopal consecration took place on 26 February 1978. During his time as a bishop he represented the Autocephalous of the Church of Cyprus in many conferences abroad, dedicated fifty new regional temples and chapels in the Paphos District, and maintained and attended all the churches of his metropolitan periphery. He also founded five Byzantine museums which contain the church treasures of the Paphos District. He played an important role in confronting and correcting irregularities and mismanagement in the Archdiocese, helping to preserve the Ecclesiastical fortune.
When Archbishop Chrysostomos I was removed from office (due to illness), Metropolitan Chrysostomos was elected as locum tenens, and Archiepiscopal elections were set for 24 September 2006. In October 2006, Metropolitan Chrysostomos became the new Archbishop of Cyprus as Chrysostomos II.
Ministry and views
Chrysostomos II is known for his social conservatism. He has, in a television interview, admitted that he supports the causes of Cyprus' National People’s Front (ELAM), a far-right, anti-Turkish Cypriot and antisemitist party. He stated that his support to ELAM included, but was not limited to the issues of immigration. This statement came months before a legislative election and after ELAM attacks on Turkish Cypriots and civilians they perceived as foreign, resulting in accusations of political interference by Cyprus Mail. He further called ELAM members "educated persons who are sincerely interested in their country". This approach of Chrysostomos II has contributed to the legitimization of far-right views in society. Furthermore, he expressed his satisfaction after ELAM entered the Cypriot parliament in the 2016 legislative election. He has opposed illegal immigration into Cyprus, branding illegal immigrants as 'interlopers who do not belong on the island'. In another remark, he said "I would even back a black man, if we had the same views"; this remark was criticised by Operation Black Vote as blatant racism.
In 2014 he called for politicians to condemn homosexuality and claimed governments demonstrated 'weakening moral integrity' by introducing civil partnerships and same-sex marriage. His comments were attacked by Cypriot MEP Andreas Pitsillides as 'racist and homophobic' and stated 'I emphatically stress these are clearly against the spirit of the Gospel of love of Christ and certainly violate all European and international treaties protecting human rights against any form of discrimination based on race, gender, religion and sexual orientation'. Another MEP, Ulrike Lunacek, claimed the Orthodox Church was 'detached from reality'. In 2016, he announced church plans to establish schools that would teach children that homosexuality is unnatural, a sin and should be overcome through struggle. He further said that the schools were aimed at giving children "principles" and raising "proper people". These remarks were met with the anger of LGBT rights organizations.
Chrysostomos II was received in a historic private audience with Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican, on 16 June 2007. Their discussions involved the safety of Christians in the Middle East as a result of an ongoing political tension between warring countries. They had another meeting on 28 March 2011.
On 20 March 2013, it was reported that Chrysostomos II said he would put the Cyprus Orthodox Church's assets at the country's disposal to help pull the country out of its financial crisis. He said the church was willing to mortgage its assets to invest in government bonds.
- Archbishop Chrysostomos II: Our enemy is Ankara, not N. Cypriot Turks. Hurriyet.
- Biography of Archbishop Chrysostomos II Archived 2009-06-16 at the Wayback Machine. Church of Cyprus official website, retrieved 06-06-2010
- "ECRI Report on Cyprus" (PDF). European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- "Our View: Archbishop is purposely stoking culture of racism". Cyprus Mail. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- Katsourides, Yiannos (2013). "Determinants of Extreme Right Reappearance in Cyprus: The National Popular Front (ELAM), Golden Dawn's Sister Party". South European Society and Politics. 18 (4): 567–589. doi:10.1080/13608746.2013.798893.
- "Cool welcome for ELAM from Archbishop (Updated)". Cyprus Mail. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- "Archbishop Chrysostomos II: I would even back a black man". Operation Black Vote. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- "Backlash against 'hateful' Archbishop over anti-gay comments". Cyprus Mail. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
- For the first time in history Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II visits the Vatican. Agenzia Fides. Published: 12 June 2007.
- Benedict XVI Receives His Beatitude Chrysostomos II. EWTN/Vatican Information Service (VIS). Published: 28 March 2011.
- Benedict XVI Receives Chrysostomos II
- Cyprus archbishop says will put church assets at country's disposal to help emerge from crisis. FoxNews.com. Published: 20 March 2013.
- Archbishop of Cyprus calls for 'national bond', offers assets. Famagusta-Gazette.com. Published: 20 March 2013.
| Archbishop of Cyprus