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12° Nicosia,
13 April, 2024
 
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With the cross in one hand and the staff in the other

''The wealthy monasteries of Cyprus were not built with ''Lord have mercy'' and incense alone.''

Apostolis Tomaras

Apostolis Tomaras

The Church of Cyprus has weathered many storms throughout its long history, often paying a heavy price to maintain the cohesion of its flock. In those times, the Church and those who served it were no different from the faithful who struggled daily for survival. However, the image of the Church changed significantly, especially after independence. The wealth and prosperity brought about by rapid growth transformed those who served it.

The Church became a significant economic force in Cypriot society, with its influence extending into political and social matters. Despite facing numerous internal crises over the years, it managed to maintain its unity, even as its flock dwindled. Scandals of all kinds have always existed within the ecclesiastical structure, which is composed of people. It should not escape us that the Church, especially in earlier years, was a refuge for those facing survival problems. Today, all of this seems like a distant memory to the older generation, while for the younger generation, it is an unknown reality.

The Church cannot be extravagant limousines and blinding gold. The Church can survive with less, and mainly not such provocative wealth.

Unfortunately, faith has its price, which even in "innocent" cases is subject to exploitation. The wealthy monasteries of Cyprus were not built with "Lord have mercy" and incense alone. They were built with the penny and the dime of the faithful seeking hope in difficult times. Thus, 800 thousand euros were gathered in the Monastery of St. Avvakoum, and thus accounts are filled in other monasteries and metropolises. The methods of the monks at the Monastery were known to all, yet no one did anything to prevent the "revelations." The Monastery of St. Avvakoum was a financial blood donor to its parent Metropolis and is not the only one.

Once, faith demanded effort and personal cost. Today, it demands a way. For the Holy Synod, the issue at hand is the ethical issues that have been revealed, not the business activities using faith, which are a matter of police investigation. If Archbishop Georgios means what he has publicly stated about this specific issue, he must make deep cuts in the part of faith that is unremunerated. The Church cannot be extravagant limousines and blinding gold. The Church can survive with less, and mainly not such provocative wealth. Yes to the economic activity of the Church for the benefit of society as a whole, not to the reckless display of wealth. As for the other moral issues, the Church of Cyprus cannot address them differently from the letter of the Church's word, whether it pleases some or not.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and edited for clarity and brevity]

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Avvakoum  |  Church  |  scandal

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