This is from the 'Cyprus Mail' 27 July 2006:
AG investigates church sex scandal
By Constantine Markides
THE ATTORNEY-General has launched an investigation into accusations levelled against a Limassol bishopric cleric, alleging he has been photographed engaged in sexual activities with a young boy.
Daily Politis first published the photographs, prompting an uncharacteristic denunciatory response from Limassol Bishop Athanassios, who claimed the photos were fabricated in a “pre-election stunt that will unfortunately backfire on those who sent it off”.
Archimandrite of the Limassol Bishopric Isaac Macheriotis has responded by filing a libel suit against Politis, and is rumoured to be seeking between £50,000 to £250,000 in damages. The Archimandrite has also secured a court order prohibiting the daily from publishing anything about the personal life of the cleric in question.
But Politis yesterday defended its move to publish the photos, categorically denying it was part of a plot to taint the Limassol Bishop’s image. The daily claimed representatives of Limassol Bishop Athanassios had “attacked” the newspaper and its journalists “without however offering any evidence that the photographic documents that were published [were] concocted or digitally altered.”
Politis also claims that experts have digitally analysed the photos and determined that they were originals taken by a mobile phone.
Attorney General Petros Clerides has allegedly sent a message to the Chief of Police to explore the authenticity of the accusations, although the police press office claim they have no information about the case.
‘Smear campaign ahead of elections’
THE CYPRUS Church has been in limbo for four years, ever since Archbishop Chrysostomos – now formally retired – was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
In May the Holy Synod finally decided on elections to ordain a new Archbishop, but only after so much turmoil and strife within the Holy Synod that the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church had to finally intervene.
The electoral process is set to begin on September 24 – after the summer months to ensure the highest possible voter turnout.
Earlier this month, a new law was established deciding that candidates be listed on ballot slips in alphabetical order instead of in categories and columns – which would indicate the preferences of the representatives who will be electing the Archbishop.
The Paphos Bishop said that the new ballot law had been established so as not to discriminate against the “elderly and the illiterate”.
But Kykkos Bishop Nikiforos yesterday said that the rest of the church leaders had voted for the new electoral process in an effort to hurt his chances in the elections since he currently leads in the polls.
“I did not vote the specific law because it is obvious that it does not ensure a conscientious and smooth electoral process,” Nikiforos told the TV programme ‘Apo Mera Se Mera’ yesterday, adding that the new law was designed to “confuse, torment and dishearten” the voter.
The main rivals in the forthcoming elections are the Paphos Bishop and his nemesis, the Kykkos Bishop
Recently the Paphos Bishop indirectly accused the Kykkos Bishop – without referring to him by name – of organising all-inclusive excursions to ensure the support of the elderly in the September elections.
“One [bishop] has financial prosperity and every weekend sends around 20 to 25 buses, around 1,000 people, and they go on a trip. They eat and drink free from the candidate for the throne.
“This has been going every weekend for more than two years. Around £10,000 is spent a week. All these old men and women, who are they going to vote for? The old men and uneducated women who don't know any better will vote for him who offers all this to them.”
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2006