His Beatitude Archbishop Georgios of New Justiniana and All Cyprus gave an interview to the Italian ACI Press, stressing, among other things, that ecumenical dialogue is the only way to achieve peace.
According to him, the challenge is even greater: “We need to move forward an ecumenical dialogue and, therefore, put aside what divides us in order to bring hope to the world.” As he pointed out, the relations of the Church of Cyprus with the Vatican are excellent.
“These are relationships that stem from our respect for the Vatican and from the help we received following the Turkish invasion, as well as from the role we expect it to play as a Christian Church in today’s world.”
He noted that the visit of the last two Popes to Cyprus showed the importance of Cyprus which is considered as an “Apostolic Church” and as a country that welcomed the message of the Gospel.
Archbishop Georgios stressed that the relations between the Church of Cyprus and the Vatican were very friendly and were characterised by the trust that one Church shows in the other.
The Archbishop stressed that, at a time when the world has been dealing with several religions, such as Islamic fundamentalism, “Christians need to put aside some small things that divide us and to showcase the many things that unite us. Thus, we need to give the public the common message of hope. Together, we can also call on others, who have not yet met Christ, to welcome Him as Saviour and Redeemer of the world.”
When His Beatitude was asked about the issue of the granting of the Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archbishop George stressed that the Church of Cyprus recognised the Autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine.
Therefore, when Ukraine requested Autocephaly, the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted it. When granting autocephaly to Russia, the Ecumenical Patriarchate defined the geographical boundaries of this Church and Ukraine was not within them.
Therefore, the Church of Cyprus, respecting the customs and canons prevailing in the Eastern Orthodox Church, recognised the move of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant Autocephaly to Ukraine.”
According to Archbishop Georgios, this is also perceived by all the other Orthodox Churches, which perhaps for reasons that are not canonical or ecclesiastical, but “related to the size of Russia, have been postponing the recognition of the Autocephaly for the time being.”
Also, the Archbishop of Cyprus added: “We are sure that soon all the Churches will recognise the rights of the Protos in the Orthodox Church.”
Finally, referring to the political situation in Cyprus with regards to the Turkish occupation, Archbishop Georgios stressed that the world was very sensitive to any invasion because of the Turkish invasion.
“That is why our people, our government and our Church condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and called for the immediate withdrawal of the troops of the invader, as well as the restoration of the rights of the Ukrainian people. But we want the same thing to happen for Cyprus too,” he said.
Furthermore, the Archbishop of Cyprus added: “The case of Ukraine is well known by Europe and the world and they are aware of the situation, perhaps because the size of the country, which is large and perhaps because Russia is a threat to other countries.
But for the Republic of Cyprus, the people were satisfied with just a few statements that were made. We demand respect for our rights as citizens of the United Europe. All Europeans have the right to free movement and to free residence throughout Europe.
We ask that it be accepted for our citizens, that is to be able to move freely in our country, not only to visit it (the occupied side of Cyprus) but also to stay in our homes and our properties in the currently occupied area,” he said.