The church cannot solve the crisis


TRUE to form Archbishop Chrysostomos II is against homosexuality and communism, and will be out in the streets protesting against the harsh bailout conditions set by Cyprus’ international lenders, he said in two-part interview this weekend.

The outspoken primate gave a lengthy interview to Politisnewspaper published over two days – the newspaper’s Sunday and Monday editions – where he expounded his view on a number of topics.

Asked whether the church is in a position to help people in time of financial crisis, the archbishop said that the church cannot correct the situation.

“It should not even cross your mind that the church – with its property – can change things. There are others in Cyprus who are richer than the church,” he said.

When he took over as archbishop in 2006, the church contributed some €5.0 million a year to charity but can now only afford €1.0 million, after incurring losses from exposure to Greek debt.

He said that the church had cut wages to control expenses, and his own wage was reduced from €5,000 a month to €4,000.

“But we will not let anyone go hungry,” he said.

And if the troika – the EU and IMF – manage to do the “unacceptable”, the archbishop will be protesting “with every fibre of [his] being”.

“The church does not only have a right, it has an obligation to react,” he said.

The church also wants to raise people on principles of morality and values, and so abolishing religious education “would be the worst thing parents could suggest for their children”.

Part of that teaching is the “abnormal nature” of homosexuality. “If they fight against it and they can’t surpass their problem, then they should at least not be proud and go announcing it. There have always been homosexuals,” he said when asked to expound on same-sex marriages.

Asked to comment on the seemingly close principles of love that both communism and the bible promote, the Archbishop said that the church propounded love but communism violence.

“Communism tries to enforce itself. It uses violence and guns. Obviously, I can’t equate Christianity with Communism,” he said.

First and foremost, the church is concerned with matters of the spirit, he said and though he may express views that are perceived negatively in the press, it is “my duty do what I think is right.”