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Cypriot Clergy in Sex Scandal

Published: October 17, 2000 (Issue # 612)


NICOSIA, Cyprus - Greek Cypriots are watching in horror as an ugly power struggle plays itself out in their scandal-tainted Church.

Already suffering from the fallout of earlier financial scandals, the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus is now having to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct by some of its highest-ranking clerics.

Perhaps more damagingly, the crisis has revealed an institution where relations between its bishops - they call themselves saints - are tinged with venom, and where some have gone to great lengths to smear their adversaries.

In one such case, a man maintained he had sexual relations with a senior male cleric and told a local radio station that he could describe every inch of his lover's body beneath its black vestments. Another has been accused of fathering two children with a devout parishioner.

The accusations, which have been appearing in the media for months, have rattled a society which is conservative by nature and in which sex is a hush-hush subject and homosexuality is definitely taboo.

"People don't want to see the leaders of their church falling to such depths. We don't even see this sort of behavior even during a political election campaign," said theologist Kostis Kyriakides.

Widely credited with preserving the island's Greek Cypriot community during the dominance of numerous conquerors over the centuries, the church, an independent branch of the Eastern Orthodox Church, is now the butt of crude jokes.

Barnabas, one of Christ's first companions and founder of the Church of Cyprus almost 2000 years ago, would be turning in his grave.

The main feud pits Athanassios, the Bishop of the Limassol district, against his "brother" Bishop Chrysostomos, of the neighboring Paphos district.

Athanassios swept to victory in elections for the bishopric of the sprawling southern port city two years ago, pulling through a campaign tainted with allegations that his mentor was an old man with a particular fondness for young nuns.

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Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegation’s visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmCham’s Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finland’s Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping mall’s Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldn’t miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBA’s Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Center’s Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.