Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus was said to be in stable but critical condition on Friday, when reports also emerged about a meeting he had with a rival bishop as the two churchmen teared up in each other’s embrace.
According to a medical statement issued by the Archdiocese on Friday, Chrysostomos was said to be in “stable but critical condition” at the Archbishopric palace in Nicosia where he was receiving hospital-level care.
Doctors treating Chrysostomos, who has been battling cancer in recent years, was being administered appropriate medication for his condition, the statement said.
A day earlier one of the doctors said the archbishop was doing slightly better than before, with local media reporting that Chrysostomos was aware of his surroundings.
'What matters is that they have met and embraced, they forgave each other, and I think after this development both of their souls calmed down'
No details were given on Friday but a report in local news pointed to a visit Archbishop Chrysostomos had received from rival Kykkos metropolitan bishop Nikiforos a few days earlier.
According to Philenews, Nikiforos went to the Palace and met Chrysostomos in the presence of two other clergymen, who witnessed a “touching moment with tears.”
“Nikiforos marched to the Archbishopric where the two of them embraced each other brotherly during an emotional encounter,” a source said.
“Your Grace, I came here for us to forgive each other, so that Christ can find us both prepared,” said Nikiforos, who leaned down and kissed Chrysostomos.
“May God have mercy on you,” one said, with the other replying “God have mercy on us,” as both teared up and remained in each other’s arms, according to the report.
Chrysostomos and Nikiforos have been at odds with each other over the issue of Ukraine, after the Holy Synod was split over a decision by the Archbishop to extend blessings to Epiphanius, the leader of the newly proclaimed Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Contenders for the ecclesiastical throne have been featured on and off in local news media recently, with hype quieting down in recent weeks but experts still pointing out the choice was coming down to a pro-Russia or anti-Russia successor.
A church official said Chrysostomos and Nikiforos never had any real problems between them but they grew apart over specific issues.
“What matters is that they have met and embraced, they forgave each other, and I think after this development both of their souls calmed down,” the official said, adding that “this meeting is a great message for Orthodox believers.”