Cyprus has new religious leader

Bishop Chrysostomos of Paphos was elected as Cyprus’s new archbishop yesterday after weeks of acrimony and bickering between the powerful religious leaders on the island. Chrysostomos, 65, has been in charge of the Church’s affairs for the last four years after his 79-year-old namesake fell ill. Chrysostomos is only the island’s second archbishop since Makarios, who was also the Cypriot president, died in 1977. «I will be everyone’s father, brother and friend,» said Chrysostomos after the election in Nicosia. «Our doors will be open and we will be glad to see our people.» The complicated and fractious election process to find a new archbishop began on September 24. Chrysostomos gained 73 votes out of 31 clerics and 100 lay representatives that took part in the crucial third ballot. His opponent, Bishop Athanassios of Limassol gained 57 votes. One ballot was spoiled. Athanassios had been the favorite to win the vote but Chrysostomos was boosted by the support of the eliminated candidate Bishop Nikiforos of the Kykkos Monastery. Previous rounds of voting had been marred by protests at the elimination of some candidates amid allegations of vote rigging. The Church in Cyprus is the island’s largest landowner and has a number of business interests. Chrysostomos has vowed to stamp out any corruption within the Church.

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