The Cyprus Church wants government intervention to remove the island’s Eurovision song entry titled El Diablo, claiming it advocates “devil worship”, while conservative Christians are organising a protest.
The Holy Synod, the church’s highest decision-making body, said the song “essentially praises the fatalistic submission of humans to the devil’s authority”.
It called on the state broadcaster CyBC to replace the song with one that “expresses our history, culture, traditions.”
Cyprus’ Orthodox Church said it acted after receiving thousands of complaints from churchgoers offended by the song’s lyrics.
“The lyrics’ are provocative and unacceptable, representing a terrible subculture entirely at odds with our people’s values and goes against their Greek and Orthodox traditions,” argued the Holy Synod.
Meanwhile, through social media, conservative Christians have called for a demonstration outside CyBC’s Nicosia premises on Saturday.
Campaigners against the song have found support from Morphou Bishop Neophytos, who warned of an orchestrated effort from Europe to “subdue” Cyprus.
The song and its lyrics – “I gave my heart to el diablo … because he tells me I’m his angel” – caused a stir last week when it was released.
The secondary school teachers union, OELMEK’s branch of religious instructors, issued a statement urging CyBC to ditch the song.
Last Friday, CyBC, tasked with choosing Cyprus’ Eurovision contest entry, received threats from an anonymous caller that they would burn down the building if the song were not withdrawn.
A man also barged into the CyBC building, uttering threats at a news presenter. The man was located by police and charged for causing a disturbance.
A campaign running on social media is currently trying to collect signatures to have the song withdrawn.
Due to the criticism, CyBC had to defend the song, saying it is about “a girl who is in an exploitive relationship with a freeloader she calls El Diablo”.
On Tuesday, CyBC chairman Andreas Frangos insisted the song will not be withdrawn, and there was no intention to insult religious sentiments.
Frangos conceded the broadcaster should’ve done a better job explaining the core message of the tune, which describes an abusive relationship between two lovers.
He argued the song was inspired by the “eternal struggle of good versus evil”.
“It tells the story of a problematic relationship where the victim is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.”
Cyprus is usually an also-ran in the Eurovision; its best finish was second place with Eleni Foureira’s ‘Fuego’ in 2018.
It is the first time an entry has come under fire for ‘breaking with people’s ethical and religious codes’.