Paphos bishop new Church leader

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Paphos Bishop Georgios was elected Saturday as the new archbishop by the Cyprus Orthodox Church’s ruling body following the death of his predecessor last month.

A majority of 11 votes appointed the 73-year-old by the 16-member Holy Synod after coming second in the popular vote by the Cypriot faithful.

Limassol Bishop Athanasios, seen as a fundamentalist, came second with four votes after winning Sunday’s lay vote with 35.68%.

Under the church charter, the top three from the lay vote progress to the secret ballot held by the holy synod.

Bishop Georgios was the favourite to win the ballot due to his supporters among senior church bishops.

“I, first of all, thank God who permitted today’s election”, said Georgios after his appointment.

Archbishop Georgios said he respected the long history of the Church of Cyprus and all its struggles for Christianity on the island.

“I will make every effort not to fall short of my predecessors”, he pledged.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II died after a long battle with cancer; he was buried in Nicosia exactly 16 years after his enthronement on 12 November 2006.

The new archbishop studied chemistry and theology in Greece and Britain and taught at schools.

He supported his predecessor closely and backed the controversial decision to recognise the split of the Ukraine Orthodox Church from Russia.