The Holy Synod in Cyprus elected a new archbishop on Sunday, staying on a pro-western course in a deeply divided Orthodox church on the island and other parts of the world.
Georgios of Paphos got 11 votes out of 16 in a secret ballot of the Church of Cyprus’ Holy Synod on Sunday morning.
The new archbishop was one of three top contenders after Greek Cypriot Orthodox Christian voters last week narrowed the list of possible successors to Chrysostomos II, who died last month after a long battle with cancer.
Georgios is from Paphos, where Chrysostomos also hailed, with both of them having been described in the past as political and pro-western.
None of the contenders brought up the deeply dividing Ukrainian issue following a truce spearheaded by the late Chrysostomos on his deathbed
Voters in the Republic of Cyprus, which excluded Russian nationals after a technical decision by the Holy Synod, picked Limassol Bishop Athanasios with 35.68%, Paphos Bishop Georgios with 18.39%, and Tamasos Bishop Isaiah with 18.1%.
Four bishops voted for Athanasios on Sunday while there was also one blank.
The installment of a new archbishop in Cyprus was a high stakes political affair as contenders had to navigate a deeply divided society where influences from East and West were being renegotiated.
After the death of Chrysostomos, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew flew on a special flight from Istanbul to Larnaca through Greek airspace to attend the funeral, an unusual visit that marked the first time in 400 years that a Patriarch of Constantinople set foot on the island.
Both Bartholomew and Chrysostomos had sided with Kiev in a religious battle between East and West, while Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who also attended the funeral, called on the successor to follow the late archbishop’s legacy and keep the Church of Cyprus on the same path with the patriarch.
Athanasios and Isaiah were among those who disagreed with the Chrysostomos’ recognition of an independent church in Ukraine, but none of the contenders brought up the issue following a truce spearheaded by the late primate on his deathbed.