Cyprus church elections postponed to Sunday
- Cyprus church elections postponed to Sunday
The new head of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus will be elected Sunday by the electoral assembly of 131 clerics and lay representatives after Saturdays process ended in a walk-out by the supporters of the front-runner for the throne.
Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos, acting as locum tenens ever since the throne was vacated in September following the incapacitating illness of Archbishop Chrysostomos for over four years, is now a prime candidate after the favourite to become the next primate, Bishop Nikiphoros of Kykkos was manouvered out of the elections, despite having most of the votes.
However a complicated three-round two-ballot system allowed the bishop of Paphos to overturn the odds and collect more votes from ex-officio electors that pushed him to the next round together with Bishop Athanassios of Limassol.
The lay and clerical electors supporting the Bishop of Kykkos walked out of the sealed hall within the Archbishopric in the capital Nicosia and this brought the election process to a halt.
Representatives of the ousted bishop said there were a lot of irregularities ever since the elections were called two months ago.
Archbishop Chrysostomos had succeeded the first President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III, who died on August 3, 1977.
The Church of Cyprus is autocephalous or independent of any other Orthodox church even though the spiritual leader of all Greek Orthodox peoples is Patriarch Bartholomeus who retains his ecumenical throne in Istanbul.
The Archbishop of Cyprus enjoys exceptional privileges -- signs in red ink, wears special empirical tunic at important church ceremonies and holds a scepter.
The Church was declared autocephalous in 478 AD when the remains of its founder, Saint Barnabas, were located on the island, in a tomb together with a copy of the gospel by Saint Mathew.
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