Archbishop Chrysostomos II: I would even back a black man

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In February 2013, Cyprus will take part in its Presidential elections. Although a few months away, the elections have gained global attention this week because of comments by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus.

In an interview with the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, the Archbishop was questioned about who he would be supporting in the forthcoming elections. Chrysostomos II stated that he had the most in common with EDEK-backed candidate Giorgos Lillikas. When pressed further if he would ever support a left wing President, provided they had the same views, the Archbishop replied:

“I would even back a black man, if we had the same views.”

Such blatant racism is shocking and from the head of the Church is unforgiveable. The presumptive use of the word ‘even’ clearly demonstrates his disdainful attitude towards black people. The Christian doctrine espouses equal treatment of all, and in his role as head of the Church, not only should Chrystostomas II treat people equally, but through the vehicle of the Church, he should actively be combatting all forms of inequality.

Moreover, this is not the first incident which he has been involved in. Chrysostomos II is known for his right-wing nationalist views and has been previously been accused of purposely stoking a culture of racism. He branded illegal immigrants in Cyprus as, "interlopers who do not belong on the island". He admits espousing several other political ideas of the Cyprus' National People’s Front (ELAM), a fanatical movement whose members wear black uniforms and whose literature is being investigated for violating anti-racism laws.

His comments give a revealing insight into how deeply seated racism is within society. Although his views may not be representative of the Church, his position as Archbishop of Cyprus gives his vile beliefs an impression of legitimacy as well as a dangerously powerful platform from which to espouse them. He may be a man of the cloth, and an Archbishop too, but he is also a racist. He should not be allowed to warp a position designed to serve the community, to instead divide and damage it.

Francine Fernandes

Archived Comments

We've changed to a new commenting system - comments below are preserved for archive purposes

Shame on Chrysostomos

Thank you to OBV for highlighting this shocking story. This is a man who is head of the Greek Orthodox Church. OBV is right to point out that his views may not represent that of the Church but sadly as a Turkish Cypriot who has spent the last spent the last 5 years or so actively lobbying in support of human rights for Turkish Cypriots this man has been a massive barrier in the overall prospects of the Cyprus problem being solved. When the Turkish controlled North part of Cyprus helped their neighbours after a massive ammunition explosion rocked a naval base in the South, killing a number of people and smashing their power infrastructure, by providing electricity, he publicly declared that he would rather read his books under candle light than use Turkish electricity. The evidence shows clearly that this hugely influential Greek Cypriot man is xenophobic and racist. On the plus side it is great to see so many Greek Cypriots condemning him after his recent comments (though not sure they had much choice in the matter!). I would urge people to also write to the Greek Cypriot High Commission (London) and seek an explanation as to how a man of such standing in the EU can see fit to make such a public racist statement

not surprised

Absolutely outrageous. This's the same guy who would also "rather live on candle light" instead of using electricity purchased from the Turkish Cypriot Northern Cyprus. The Church's poisonous influence on Greek Cypriot politics and life does not give much hope for the future of the increasingly discriminatory mentality in South Cyprus.. or for the prospects for peace and unification with Turkish Cypriots.

Arcbishop dream speaking

your eminent after having so many destruction to our island by the religious personalies please do not speak any more and do your religious duty but not politik.

Chrysostomos T-REX

I have to start of by saying how deeply ashamed and embarrassed I feel by what Chrysostomos II said. Fortunately dinosaurs like him are becoming a dying bread. But unfortunately I can't say the same for the illegal regime in the north of the country. Turkey with one of the worst human rights records and with one of the largest standing armies in the world, invaded and is currently occupying the north of Cyprus. This is the reason the north of Cyprus isn't recognized as an independent state by the UN. 180,000 indigenous Cypriots were ethnically cleansed and about 5,000 men, women and children were killed to create a pure Turkish state (The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). The ongoing demographic and cultural genocide in the OCCUPIED north is classified by the UN as a WAR CRIME. This is a good enough reason why people like Chrysostomos II should have known better.

Chrysostomos Resign

I agree with all the comments apart from Mr Impaler (your screen name is most unfortunate and quite offensive). Let us not shift what the article seeks to do which is to expose who is possibly the most powerful man in South Cyprus as a racist. Most unfortunate that he is head of the church. He is also a known homophobe too with comments reported in the media.
Mags

Archbishop Chrysostomo's Comments

There is a saying that one should look after his/her own domestic issues before criticizing others. This applies to Turkey..I fully agree with Dave Impaler's comments

Chrysostomo - what a wretch

As a Christian it makes me saddened and annoyed that such a man would use the church to voice his wretched opinions about race and homophobia. I agree with Hakki he should not get involved with politics but i also think he should be removed from his pastoral role too.

A dangerous trend

The Archbishop's comments are the epitome of racism. Some people in Cyprus called his statements 'banal'racism, as if that makes what he said any better. For those of us with an awareness of what banality can do when it comes to racism and nationalism, his statements and society's reaction are all the more worrying. There is a rising xenophobia and racism amongst Greek Cypriots which is finding an outlet for expression in candidates running for election to presidential office in 2013. Needless to the media is not dealing with the issue with any sensitivity either. But for those who commented here about the situation in Cyprus as regards the relations with Turkish Cypriots I think that your comments are detracting at this point from the topic discussed in this article. And I cannot help but feel that your comments are politically motivated. There is no doubt in my mind that the continuing division of the island, the influence of Turkey and its hostile stance in the region, as well as the stance of the two elected leaderships on the island are contributing to the aforementioned developments amongst Greek Cypriots.

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