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Election of new Archbishop in Cyprus begins 24 September
2006-09-06 12:15:47

Nicosia, Sep 6 -- The first phase of a long and arduous process to elect a new Archbishop for the Autocephalous Church of Cyprus begins formally on Sunday 24 September 2006. This complex procedure will culminate in early November with the announcement of the new Archbishop.

The new Archbishop, a post contested so far by four high ranking clergy, will replace the ailing Archbishop Chrysostomos, who has been incapacitated for the past four years. Chrysostomos succeeded the late Archbishop and first President of the Republic of Cyprus Makarios III, who died on August 3, 1977. Since Chrysostomos? illness, the Church has been run by the acting primate of the church, Pafos Bishop Chrysostomos, as stipulated in the church Charter.

This is the first church elections in nearly three decades, to take place after a decision in May this year by a meeting of the Holy Synod, convened by the Eucumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, head of the Greek Orthodox Church.

When the post of the Archbishop, who according to the Republic of Cyprus protocol is the second most important dignitary in the country after the president, becomes vacant, the Bishop of Pafos acts as a temporary church head.

The bishops of Kition, Kyrenia, Limassol and Morphou follow in that order as far as seniority in rank is concerned within the church hierarchy. The acting primate of the church is limited in his duties to dealing with very essential day to day duties and has no authority to introduce changes to the existing rules and regulations.

The elections are organized, monitored and carried through by church officials. The contenders of the top post in the church hierarchy are at this state the Bishop of Pafos Chrysostomos, the Bishop of Kition Chrysostomos, the Bishop of Limassol Athanasios and Kykkos Monastery Bishop Nikiforos.

Greek Cypriot refugees will vote at the place of their current residence to elect special representatives for the church district they come from.

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