October 21, 2009

Ecumenist Bishops Seek to Silence the Faithful

[Some bishops are really showing their true colors these days and revealing their ultra-despotic characters. The faithful have every right to protect their churches and protest peacefully wherever and whenever they want. These churches do not belong to the bishop or even the Holy Synod alone. If it scandalizes the faithful, they should be wise enough to avoid it. But unfortunately they think they are the voice of the people, when obviously they are not in these situations. In fact, they are more and more revealing that they don't want to be the voice of the people to fulfill their own agendas. This article is obviously a bit biased, judging from the title alone, but it is still revealing. Latin weddings should not be performed in Orthodox churches under any circumstance, especially on an island that has plenty of Catholic churches to perform their weddings. There was absolutely no good reason for Archbishop Chrysostomos to allow this, even though there is evidence this is being done in Cyprus quite frequently. - J.S.]

Holy Protestors Force Cancellation of Catholic Wedding

By Charles Charalambous
Cyprus Mail
October 20, 2009

BANNER-WAVING Orthodox protestors yesterday put a stop to a Catholic wedding ceremony at Ayios Yiorgios church in Chlorakas after shouting a string of abuse at the priest and others in the church.

The protestors had gathered for the second day outside a conference of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

The small church is opposite the venue.

Protestors were incensed when the Catholic priest, who has permission from the Church of Cyprus to hold ceremonies, asked them to leave. Instead they heckled him to leave. “We peacefully call on you to leave and to have the wedding in a Catholic Church,” said one of the protestors.

When the priest told them he had permission, another said: “We are Orthodox Christians. It’s our church and you have no place here.”

The incident was caught on camera by Antenna television.

Another protestor outside the church said the Catholic priest had shown up with a key, entered the church and began moving things around “as if he was in a warehouse”.

“Some heretic....a Latin heretic...came and told us to go outside because there was a wedding, a papal wedding,” said the protestor.

He claimed it was all a plot to distort the history of Cyprus because the church in question was historically important in terms of the EOKA struggle when it was used as a drop-off point for weapons.

“They (Catholics) are not allowed to enter our church,” said the first protestor. “Aren’t you ashamed. You came to throw us out,” he said to the priest.

The Catholic priest then walked away, saying the wedding was cancelled.

The protestors who began demonstrating on Saturday oppose dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, and claim that the aim of the dialogue between the two churches is the submission of the Orthodox Church to the Pope.

Archbishop Chrysostomos expressed his displeasure about the Saturday protest in scathing terms.

“The Church is certainly a place for healing, and people turn to it in order to be healed. But it is not an asylum, nor shall we allow it to become a home for the mentally-ill. The Church cannot be turned into a lunatic asylum” he said.

“For someone – whether a lay or clerical person – to place his opinion above the opinion and decisions of the local synods of the whole of the Orthodox faith amounts to vanity, and indeed satanic vanity.”

Inviting the protestors to “get their feet back on the ground and gain some redemptive humility”, he declared that all clerics and monks who took part in the protest would be punished, and told the participants to visit him in his office yesterday.

The Archbishop said that the clerics would face suspension and loss of pay, and the monks would be deprived of Holy Communion “for several weeks”.

“If they don’t like it, they should take off their robes and leave the formal Church. Let them go and set up their own church. This is why I will be very strict.”

The protestors responded by saying that instead of “convincing with theological arguments as a pastor”, the Archbishop was “using the powers of his office to issue threats” of disciplinary action against clerics involved in the protest.

Lavrentios de Giorgio, President of the Saint Kosmas Aitolos Orthodox Union, speaking for the protestors argued yesterday that the Archbishop did not have the authority to impose punishments on clergy belonging to the Kitium diocese, describing such actions as “a coup” by the Church leader.

In response, Paphos Bishop Georgios – who is in charge of the inter-faith dialogue – said that the protestors were “ultra-orthodox” people.

“Neither I nor the Synod nor anyone else is less Orthodox than them,” he said.

“People need to understand that we are all in dialogue with our fellow-man and we will not betray our faith or our values.”

The conference takes place every two years, and will end on Friday.

St. George Church