Cyprus Ombudsman interferes religious issues of Orthodox Church

September 23, 2016. Head of the Cyprus Orthodox Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, lashed out at the report submitted by Ombudsman Elisa Savvidou regarding the initiative of a state nursery school to take its students to worship holy relics at a parish church saying that she has overreached herself, as reports in-cyprus.com website.

Speaking during Mega’s main news bulletin, the Archbishop said that the worshipping of relics and icons was not a new phenomenon, stressing that: “It’s not the Commissioner’s concern on how our people practice their faith. She is overreaching herself, it’s not her job. She shouldn’t involve herself with issues of faith especially without asking us.”

The Archbishop added that teachers were obliged to offer not only knowledge and morals to the children but spiritual guidance too.

“This is our faith. We don’t force anyone to worship, it’s each individuals’ personal choice,” remarked the Archbishop.

The salvo came after Savvidou’s report was circulated in parliament on Wednesday.

In her report, Savvidou hit out against the Education Ministry following the administrative decision of a state nursery school to take its pupils to a church of the parish to worship the “holy remains” and to receive communion without the consent of the parents.

Savvidou was alerted to the issue following a complaint submitted to her office against the Education Ministry by the President of the Cyprus Humanist Association, Viana Eriksson.

Savvidou’s report, dated August 30, 2016, strongly indicates that this kind of activity associated with the doctrine of a religion does not belong in schools as they are a synthesis of opinions and cultures and for this reason should remain neutral and impartial.

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