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Died – Dying – Obituary : Cyprus’ Greek Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II dies at 81 #Cyprus #Greek #Orthodox #Archbishop #Chrysostomos #dies



Died – Dying – Obituary

Cyprus’ Greek Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II dies at 81

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Archbishop Chrysostomos II, the outspoken chief of Cyprus’ Greek Orthodox Christian Church whose forays into the nation’s complicated politics and funds fired up supporters and detractors alike, died Monday. He was 81.

Chrysostomos had suffered from intestinal and liver most cancers for the previous 4 years and had spent his ultimate days on the church’s headquarters within the capital.

A medical bulletin mentioned the archbishop “handed peacefully after dealing with the trial of his ailment with braveness, persistence and Christian endurance” early Monday.

“All these had been near him throughout the tough hours of his ailment skilled his humility, kindness and deep religion in addition to his concern for his flock,” the bulletin mentioned. It added that the archbishop left behind a legacy marked by his “imaginative and prescient, daring, respect for and restoration of the church’s historic custom in addition to progressive adjustments that at all times aimed for the unity of the church.”

The Holy Synod — the church’s highest decision-making physique — determined after convening Monday that the archbishop’s physique will lie in state at St. Barnabas Cathedral on the church’s headquarters in Nicosia starting Thursday till his funeral on Saturday.

The funeral service might be presided over by the chief of the world’s Orthodox Christian trustworthy, Patriarch Bartholomew, whereas the archbishop might be buried in a crypt beneath the cathedral, based on his needs. Church bells throughout the nation will ring in mourning all through the funeral, whereas flags in any respect church buildings might be lowered to half-staff for the following 5 days.

The Cyprus authorities declared a five-day interval of mourning throughout which all public occasions might be cancelled and flags on public buildings might be lowered to half-staff. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades will supply the eulogy on the funeral.

In the meantime, tributes poured in for the archbishop. Anastasiades hailed Chrysostomos’ “large physique of reforms for Orthodoxy and the church in addition to the well-being of our folks.” Even staunch detractors from the communist-rooted AKEL celebration mentioned the archbishop “clearly left his imprint on issues of church and society.”

Tall and imposing with a white beard in accordance with Orthodox custom, Chrysostomos seldom held again from talking his thoughts on points starting from politics to the nation’s funds, rallying supporters however inflicting consternation amongst some politicians and different critics who scolded him for not sticking to his non secular duties.

Previous to the island nation’s multibillion-euro monetary rescue by worldwide collectors in March 2013, Chrysostomos declared he would have most well-liked that the cash-strapped nation abandon the euro as its forex slightly than settle for a bailout deal that he claimed would set its economic system again a long time.

After the deal was signed, forcing massive depositors within the nation’s two largest banks to take successful on their financial savings, an indignant Chrysostomos mentioned: “This isn’t the Europe that we believed in once we joined.”

The archbishop additionally didn’t chorus from making his feedback private. He as soon as advised communist-rooted former President Dimitris Christofias to interact in self-reflection after having been handed a “affluent, joyful nation and leaving it with some folks going hungry.”

The cleric railed in opposition to politicians and bankers, who he known as “thieves” who ran for canopy whereas “poor folks paid the piper” for his or her ruinous choices. He additionally warned that he wouldn’t hesitate to name on the folks to stand up in an effort to stop technocrats from “wreaking havoc” on the nation’s banking sector.

His feedback concerning the world of finance prompted some critics to say he was behaving extra like a businessman and banker than a religious chief.

Though Chrysostomos had previously overtly courted Russian traders and the Kremlin’s political help, relations with the Russian Orthodox Church frayed when he adopted in 2020 the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s choice to acknowledge the brand new Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s independence.

Two months after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine this yr, the archbishop “unreservedly” condemned Moscow’s motion, saying there’s “no justification” for Russian President Vladimir Putin to “destroy a rustic, to raze it to kill,” questioning whether or not the Russian chief “is in his proper thoughts.” He advised the state broadcaster that the “egotism, if not the stupidity” of the Russian management “is aware of no bounds.”

Chrysostomos additionally questioned Putin’s embrace of Orthodox Christianity, together with the sincerity of his travels to the positioning the place Christians imagine Jesus Christ was baptized.

He visited war-torn Syria in 2016 to supply help to that nation’s Orthodox trustworthy. In the course of the coronavirus pandemic, he threw his full help behind scientists’ suggestions for vaccinations and restrictions geared toward stopping the virus’ unfold.

His ascension to the throne in 2006, after his predecessor and namesake may now not perform his duties due to poor well being, mirrored his political adroitness.

Church leaders in Cyprus are elected by lay voters together with a school of clerics, a convention that goes again centuries. Hardly the folks’s favourite and trailing the 2 frontrunners within the lay vote, Chrysostomos outmaneuvered his rivals by clinching majority help throughout the school to win.

Chrysostomos was at all times open about his right-wing politics and was not afraid to make use of his affect to steer the Holy Synod to bend to his will.

Chrysostomos had spoken overtly about his mistrust of Turkey’s intentions in Cyprus. In 2018, he mentioned he by no means believed {that a} peace deal to reunify the ethnically divided island nation was doable as a result of Turkey wished to ascertain a Turkish state right here.

Cyprus was cut up in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared an impartial state within the north of the Mediterranean island, acknowledged solely by Turkey, which maintains 35,000 troops there.

Chrysostomos campaigned in 2004 for the church to take a stand in opposition to what was believed to be an unfair U.N.-drafted peace plan that the overwhelming majority of Greek Cypriots subsequently voted down in a referendum.

Addressing Pope Benedict XVI throughout the pontiff’s 2010 go to to the island, Chrysostomos accused Turkey of making an attempt to hold out “its obscure plans, which embody the annexation of the land now beneath army occupation after which a conquest of the entire of Cyprus.”

Chrysostomos additionally mentioned Turks “ruthlessly sacked” Christian artworks, claiming they had been searching for to make Greek and Christian tradition disappear from northern Cyprus. The archbishop additionally appealed to Pope Francis throughout the pontiff’s 2021 go to to Cyprus for assist to make sure the safety of sacred Christian monuments.

Regardless of his politics, the archbishop labored intently with the Muslim mufti, the non secular chief of the Turkish Cypriots, in addition to different Christian leaders to rebuild non secular websites to ship the message that religion is an anchor slightly than a hindrance to peace.

The church’s weighty affect in Cyprus dates again to the Center Ages, when the island’s Ottoman rulers had acknowledged it as the only real consultant physique of Greek Orthodox Christians. That continued proper as much as 1960, when Cyprus gained independence from British colonial rule with the election of then-Archbishop Makarios because the nation’s first president.

Born on April 10, 1941, Chrysostomos’ non secular calling got here early when he joined Cyprus’ well-known monastery of Saint Neophytos as a lay-brother proper after finishing major faculty. He steadily rose by the church’s ranks till 1978, when he was enthroned bishop of his native prefecture of Paphos.

As archbishop, Chrysostomos shored up church funds and enacted a string of reforms, together with restoring the church’s decision-making independence by bolstering the Holy Synod with the ordination of latest bishops and the drafting of a brand new structure.

Chrysostomos additionally opened a church workplace on the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels and was a powerful supporter of nearer relations between the Orthodox and Catholic church buildings.

“I need to do actual work, not only for present. … I need to go away one thing behind for this nation, that’s what issues,” Chrysostomos advised state broadcaster CyBC earlier this yr.

Cyprus’ Greek Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II dies at 81

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