The Archbishop of the Southern Cypriot Orthodox Church, Chrysostomos II, has said "Our enemies are not the Northern Cypriot Turks, but Ankara." Chrysostomos II, who will come together today in South Nicosia with the Northern Cypriot Minister of Religious Affairs, Ahmet Yonluer, has said that he will ask permission to carry out services in Orthodox churches found on the Northern Cypriot side of the island.
In a statement to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, Archbishop Chrysostomos II said he placed great importance on the meeting today with Yonluer, noting "During our meeting, I will stress that our real enemies in the invasion of our nation's land are not the Northern Cypriot Turks themselves, but Ankara."
"Meeting does not mean recognition for Northern Cyprus"
Archbishop Chrysostomos also stated that he wanted those who had moved from Turkey to Northern Cyprus, as well as the soldiers found on Northern Cypriot soil, to leave the island, and clarified that his meeting today in Nicosia in no way meant any sort of official recognition on the part of the Southern Cypriot authority for Northern Cyprus. He added "I will ask for permission to send Southern Cypriot citizens to clean our churches there in preparation for services, and will in fact explain that we have no need for money from Europe to carry out this work, that we are looking after the churches with our own money."
Chrysostomos II also noted in the statement that he thought Greek and Turkish Cypriots could in fact live on the island in peace, but that he was very much opposed to the Annan Plan, and that he thought the Annan Plan should not be brought to the table again in talks aiming for a lasting solution.
Archbiship Chrysostomos II was elected to his position last November, but only after receiving the "green light" from the Istanbul Fener-based Patriarchate. The day after his election to the post, Archbishop Chrysostomos II said he was "not made uncomfortable by the muezzin on the Northern side, but by the Turkish soldiers." Chrysostomos II was also behind a campaign letting Southern Cypriot residents know that "if you vote 'yes' for the Annan Plan, you will not go to heaven." Interestingly, the role of the Greek Orthodox Church on Cyprus has been strong through the years; until 1974, the president of the "Cypriot Republic" was Mihail Hristodulu Muskos, who was also Archbishop Makarios (his religious name) of the church.
Archbishop Makarios was president of Cypriot Republic for years
When Muskos became Archbishop Makarios, in 1950, he was only 37 years old. He became legendary for his fight against the British on the island, and when he became the first president of the Cypriot Republic, in 1960, he put into implementation the "Enosis" doctrine, with its plan to eliminate the Turks on Cyprus. Makarios' goal was the re-uniting of Cyprus with Greece, but his stars did not align with the Junta of Colonels, which came to power in 1967. Later still, following a junta in Greece, Makarios fled Cyprus when there was a take-over on the island, though he returned a few months later. He died in Nicosia in 1977 of a heart attack.