'A marvellous meeting in a beautiful and very pleasant atmosphere'
By Jacqueline Theodoulou
THE ARCHBISHOP of Cyprus has stressed the need for unity among all
Greek Cypriots in order to accomplish more for the Cyprus problem.
Speaking after his meeting with President Demetris Christofias
yesterday, Archbishop Chrysostomos said the two had had "a marvellous
meeting in a beautiful and very pleasant atmosphere", holding a
discussion on general issues.
"Nothing separates us from Demetris," said Archbishop Chrysostomos,
who twice backed Christofias' rivals in the elections, first
President Tassos Papadopoulos, then when he was eliminated in the
first round, Ioannis Kasoulides. Christofias had himself backed
Chrysostomos' rival Bishop Nikiforos of Kykkos in the elections for a
new archbishop in 2006.
"We told him that we would gladly stand by his side," the Archbishop
He added: "We agree that there is a need for unity among the people
if we are to accomplish anything.
"I told him that I believe he will succeed because he is very
communicative and taking into consideration our adversaries and the
fact that they do not leave many margins, where they won't agree with
something, I am certain that they will be exposed".
Asked if he felt the need for a mea culpa stance over his public
intervention in the presidential elections, he said this was old news
that needed to remain in the past. "We are looking forward; there is
nothing that divides us."
He added that the Church had always had an active say in the national
issue, which he said would continue with his co-operation with the
new President. "The national issue is something that concerns all of
us; it is not just an issue for the President or the government."
The Archbishop said he agreed on most issues with Christofias. "I
don't think it is right for me to speak on behalf of the President,
but during our meeting and exchange of views, we agreed totally."
Asked if he approved of Andreas Demetriou's appointment as the new
Education Minister, the Archbishop said he had not got the chance to
discuss the issue, but added that he had scheduled a meeting with the
new minister soon.
"What we desire is for us to stay true to our Christian and national
roots. The President of the Republic does not disagree; he is
Christian Orthodox, not of another religion," said Chrysostomos.