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Chrysostomos looks for unity

Nicosia (AP) – Newly elected Archbishop Chrysostomos II was enthroned yesterday as head of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus in a ceremony that traces its roots back to the 5th century. Surrounded by Church emissaries, priests and politicians, Chrysostomos II, 65, addressed the packed Aghios Ioannis Cathedral in Nicosia and said the Church will continue to have a say on the issue of the Mediterranean island’s reunification. «The Church cannot consent in any way and under any circumstances to the acceptance of a solution that does not respect the human rights and basic freedoms of all of Cyprus’s rightful inhabitants,» said Chrysostomos, who was elected on November 5. The Church maintains powerful influence among the 700,000 Greek Cypriots and plays a strong role in political issues. «Nothing divides us and our Turkish-Cypriot compatriots, we lived in peace together for many years,» Chrysostomos said. «However, we are unimaginably annoyed by the illegal occupation and are provoked by the brutal violation of our human rights by Turkey – the occupying force.» Chrysostomos vowed to stamp out the financial misappropriation that has plagued the Archbishopric for years, and reiterated the Church’s demand for representation in decision making on education matters. He succeeds Chrysostomos I, 79, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and had not been able to carry out his duties for several years. The Church of Cyprus was declared autocephalous, or self-governing, at the Council of Ephesus in 431. It is the biggest landowner on the island and has investments in banking, hotels and even wine and beer production.