Vote for Archbishop on 18 December

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The Holy Synod announced voting for the new leader of the Cyprus Church would be held on 18 December after Archbishop Chrysostomos II was laid to rest.

Caretaker of the throne, Paphos Bishop Giorgios, announced on Monday the process by which the next Archbishop will be elected.

Parishioners will not now be given a piece of paper to write the name of their preferred choice.

Instead, there will be a ballot for those declaring their candidacy.

Interested clergy will have to submit their candidacy on 22 November. The election process will be overseen and carried out by civil servants.

Karpasia Bishop Christoforos became the latest to throw his hat in the ring for the upcoming succession of the Archbishop’s throne.

He said he was not doing this because he felt the worthiest, but as a senior priest who “through the church system and with absolute respect to the difference between the two posts, will proceed with love and peace regardless of the outcome, for the benefit of the church and the country”.

Bishop Christoforos added: “We are not looking for the best candidate because there is simply none who is better than the rest”.

He now brings the number of candidates to seven, along with the bishops of Kyrenia, Morphou, Constantia, Paphos, Limassol and Tamassos.

Around 60 senior clerics are eligible to contest the throne of Archbishop, vacated after the passing of Chrysostomos II on 7 November.

All members of the Holy Synod are eligible, along with celibate elders and deacons who hold a degree from an accredited school of theology and have held a ministry for at least 10 years.

Once parishioners have selected the top three, the Holy Synod will convene to choose one of the three clergy members proposed by the faithful.

The Church’s top decision-making body comprises 17 senior clerics; after the Archbishop died, there were 16 votes.

Lottery

In the first round of voting, if one of the candidates acquires 50% plus one vote, he is declared Archbishop. That means the new Archbishop needs the backing of nine clergy members.

If the first round fails to produce a victor, it goes to a run-off between two candidates who got the most votes.

In the case of a tie, a simple lottery is held to determine the next head of the Cyprus Church.

A survey held in the summer favoured Limassol Bishop Athanasios with 17 percentage points ahead of Tamassos Bishop Isaias.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II, 81, was laid to rest on Saturday after losing a four-year fight against cancer.

Born in Tala, Paphos, on 10 April 1941, Chrysostomos II became Archbishop on 5 November 2006, remaining on the throne for 16 years.

He is remembered as an active religious leader with a vocal stance on issues from politics, the Cyprus problem, and the financial crisis in 2013.

According to Church law, elections for the next Archbishop should be held within 40 days of the leader’s passing.