NEWS

Sacked cleric: ‘I’ll expose gay priests’

NICOSIA (AFP) – A defrocked archimandrite vowed to expose senior homosexual clerics protected by the Cyprus Orthodox Church after he was defrocked by the Holy Synod on Thursday. Archimandrite Andreas Constantinides was defrocked by a majority decision of the Synod which found him guilty of conspiring to defame Limassol’s Bishop Athanassios as being gay. Holy Synod secretary Father Marios Demetriou merely confirmed Thursday’s Synod decision without elaborating. The unexpected decision was swift and not without its critics but the Church hopes it will close a sad and sullied chapter in its troubled history. A majority vote ousted the outspoken cleric, although the archimandrite vowed to continue his crusade to name and shame moral deviants in the church. It is a regrettable decision which is both cowardly and vindictive…the Synod is frightened of the truth, a defiant Constantinides told reporters after the decision. My fight will continue against homosexual clerics protected by the Church. God will judge those who have sinned. Constantinides also accused a parliament member of behind-the-scenes arm twisting to ensure the vote did not go in his favor. Influential Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos said he was not honored by the Synod decision and claimed the wayward cleric had done nothing wrong in his eyes. I can’t see what offense he has committed, there are those who have committed much more serious crimes and the Synod did absolutely nothing, said the Paphos bishop. Constantinides is the second archimandrite to be defrocked in the Church’s gay conspiracy probe which rocked a deeply religious society last year. Archimandrite Chrysostomos Argyrides was shown the door for good in September. The two clerics were banished from the Church for their part in trying to defame Limassol Bishop Athanassios as a homosexual. The effort to sully Athanassios’s reputation ended with last November’s landmark Major Synod of overseas bishops absolving the Limassol bishop of any moral wrongdoing.