“The Church condemns extremist tendencies and behaviour,” said Archbishop Chrysostomos who moved towards a closer approach with the Turkish-Cypriot side. The comments come after former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat was attacked by nationalist extremists Elam who attempted to prevent a speech by the politician in Limassol.
Clashes followed while a firecracker was thrown in front of the American ambassador’s feet.
The head of the Cyprus Church clearly disassociated the religious leadership from Elam and personally apologised to Talat in a phone conversation while also sending an official letter.
Chrysostomos accused Elam of undermining efforts personally undertaken by himself and the Mufti of the Turkish-Cypriots to restore Greek Orthodox churches in the occupied territories and freely hold services.
According to reports, Ankara has removed its silent support for the restoration of churches following the Talat incident, letting the Archbishop know that it will no longer facilitate visits by Cypriot bishops or allow further discussion on restoration of religious heritage sites.
It is worth noting that the process leading towards the restoration of the historic Apostolos Andreas monastery in the Karpass peninsula is now in the final stages with work expected to start in the summer.
Cyprus Daily sources say that the Archbishop was alarmed by the repercussions of the Elam action and therefore had to mend fences, before all the work he put into building bridges with the Mufti, fell down.
He warned that such nationalistic tendencies had led to catastrophic results in the past. Elam was approved as a political party several years ago and the Archbishop called on the government to strip this away, if it found that it no longer fulfilled the criteria.