- Anti-money laundering : Troika distorted ‘dirty money’ findings
- our view : Our View: Anastasiades giving more ammunition to opponents of a...
- attempted murder : Woman stabbed in the back in Ledra Street shop
- Cyprus : Efforts to keep provident fund haircuts as low as possible
- bank of cyprus : Cyprus Today
- Barrosso : Barroso: all available resources mobilised to help Cyprus
- Cyprus : ‘Cyprus now on the energy map’
- Cyprus : DISY deputy tables simple health-care solution
- Ayios Dometios : Packs of stray dogs roaming Green Line
- cabinet : Green light expected for net metering
Church speaks out on cremation, civil partnerships and periods
THE HOLY Synod said yesterday it opposed draft legislation which regulates cremation and allows civil partnerships, and seemed to hint strongly it still upheld a mediaeval objection to the attendance in church of menstruating women.
It also said the church opposed a proposed change in schools which would see students no longer obliged to take religious studies.
Speaking about civil partnerships, Paphos Metropolitan Georgios said that laws cannot determine what is right and wrong and that the church could not condone any partnership outside of an official church wedding.
“The church cannot accept the cohabitation of people of the same sex because Holy Scripture speaks of two sexes, male and female, that God created,” he said.
“The church advises those who have an addiction to homosexuality to fight against their urges as they would fight against any other passions. The goal of any law should not only be to regulate social differences or the satisfaction of desires, but to educate people correctly.”
Asked if the Holy Synod was completely opposed to cremation, the Paphos Metropolitan explained that it is difficult for the church to be completely against cremation as God could resurrect the dead from their ashes during the Second Coming.
He said the subject of cremating the dead was not related to the Orthodox doctrine but rather about the church’s traditions. It is upon this tradition, he added, that the church placed its foundations and recommended the faithful accept the church’s suggestion about cremation, saying that he would not perform a funeral ceremony for anyone who plans to be cremated.
The cabinet recently passed a draft bill to enable couples to have a legally recognised relationship outside of marriage. A civil partnership allows a couple, living together but not married, to register their relationship with authorities so they can have the same obligations and rights as married couples.
The government also approved draft legislation regulating cremation in January.
Metropolitan Georgios revealed that the Holy Synod had also discussed complaints aimed at comments made by the recently appointed MEP Andreas Pitsilides who is also a theologian.
Although the metropolitan did not divulge the details of what the Holy Synod objected to, Pitsilides said he believed they were displeased with his recent comments in support of cremation and the attendance of menstruating women in church.
“Although I have not had the pleasure to be informed by the church of what comments I made that upset them, I assume it was my comment that women on their period should be allowed to worship at church and that cremation should be allowed,” Pitsilides told the Cyprus Mail. According to Orthodox dogma, menstruating women are not allowed to worship in church.
“Thankfully we no longer live in the middle-ages but in a modern, European Cyprus where experts and free-thinking people can express their opinions freely even if someone disagrees with them,” said Pitsilides.
“I would like to thank the Holy Synod for their utter lack of any democratic sensitivity and ecclesiastical morals by inviting me to talk about their objections,” he added.
The metropolitan said that Pitsilides’ position did not reflect the morals, beliefs and way of life of the Orthodox Church and called on the MEP as a theologian not to express his personal position, but only the tradition of the church.
The Synod also met with Education and Culture Minister Kyriacos Kenevezos yesterday and raised their concerns about proposed changes to religious education in schools, saying that pupils of other religions are being catered to instead of the vast majority of Greek Cypriot students.
Addressing the minister ahead of the meeting, Archbishop Chrysostomos II said that it is the church’s desire to develop a good relationship with the ministry of education.
“Having over 2,000 years of experience in the field of education, even during difficult periods, the church wants education to be Hellenic and based on religion where students can develop their knowledge and their virtue,” the primate said.
The right to be cremated after death has been the long-standing demand of the thousands of expats living in Cyprus - though it is believed that a growing number of Cypriots would also go for that option if it was available.
A bill to build a crematorium was first drafted and presented to parliament in 2000 by Marios Matsakis, then an MP.