Newly elected Archbishop Georgios will continue the legacy of his predecessor, he told CNA on Saturday.
In an interview, the new primate of the Greek orthodox church on the island also said that he will seek for all people in Cyprus to enjoy the human rights European citizens have. These include freedom of movement throughout Cyprus and a single vote per person and not allow the 18% of the population to dominate the 82%.
“Our views with the late Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II are identical,” he said, adding that all people are entitled to human rights and we will pursue them with zeal.
In his interview, Archbishop Georgios said his priorities were part of his election programme and include supporting every person who needs the church, ie the continuation and expansion of the Church’s charity and social work, supporting large families and giving families incentives to overcome the low birth rate. At the same time, he talked about finding ways to bring the young people closer to church and away from unhealthy situations.
Archbishop Georgios also spoke about supporting a proper solution to the Cyprus problem and finding answers to dilemmas that people have through the Bible teachings.
Replying to a question about unity, he said the Holy Synod is united and this was proven by the majority who voted in his favour and the fact that those who supported his rival Bishop of Limassol pledged to work with him for the good of the church.
Invited to comment on reports that his election satisfied those who associated him with the continuation of the present stance of the Church on the Ukrainian issue, the Archbishop of Cyprus noted that it is a fact that both he and the majority of the members of the Holy Synod advocated the recognition of the Ukrainian Autocephaly.
Therefore, the fact that he was elected means that the current stance of the Church on the Ukrainian issue will continue.
Regarding the points where the Church needs to improve its communication with the flock, Archbishop Georgios said that man remains a spiritual being and this has been so over the centuries. What has changed, he added, is technology and science, however, not the spiritual domain. We should approach people through the new methods that technology and science offer without altering people’ spirituality or the Church’s belief; instead we will improve the way issues are expressed and provide people with the necessary answers.
Asked which social issues are the most important for the Church, he said all social issues are at the core of the Church because it is interested about people’s health.
He said the Church is interested in the fair acquisition and distribution of material goods and scolded the rich who keep material goods to themselves. Archbishop Georgios also said the Church is interested on whether people have enough to eat. Therefore all the problems of society are of interest to the Church, he added.
Regarding his speech on education issues, Archbishop Georgios said that education is a key element that shapes people and the effects continue beyond school years throughout human life.
Therefore, he added, we should focus mainly on those subjects that shape the morality of man, such as religion, history, language. Religion connects us with God, the history with our nation that leads us to avoid the mistakes of the past and language connects us with our homeland.
He also said the pre-election campaign was kept at low tones and this is due to the maturity of the people. He also praised all candidates for their approach.
Archbishop Georgios also said the Church will stand by those who wish to have more children.
Regarding the elections at the Paphos Bishopric, he said that after the enthronement that will take place on 8 January, procedures to fill the Paphos Bishopric will commence.