Bishop Georgios of Paphos has moved to defend his claims that homosexuality is an ‘abnormality’ adding that the church is willing to help ‘cure’ gay men and women.
The clergyman has been outspoken in his condemnation of homosexuality in Cyprus despite government efforts to introduce laws to protect gay rights and acceptance.
His controversial comments have prompted gay and human rights groups to condemn him and the church.
“Homosexuality is unorthodox and that is the position held by the Church of Cyprus,” he told Phileleftheros.
“Some journalists have defended their actions and they have the right to do so whether it’s to protect a particular group of individuals or for their own personal reasons. But we too look upon those people [gays] with compassion but we do not accept that particular lifestyle. For the church, the message is clear – it is an abnormality.”
He added: “The church is an open hospital for all people, both healthy and ill. Our aim is to cure the sick, not to accept the sick and declare them healthy.”
When asked why God would allow a gay way of life if it was abnormal, the bishop replied, “God, for example, also accepts murderers. There are urges towards evil which is why every person needs to resist. The church is here to help those people wanting to find the right path again.”
Meanwhile, the bishop went on to deny claims that he supports or is anyway affiliated with ELAM following reports that he was a sympathiser of the far right party.
Prior to his appointment as bishop of Paphos, he made headlines around 30 years ago when he was arrested and allegedly ill-treated by Turkish forces during a protest march at the green line.
In 1989, Georgios had taken Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights concerning Turkey’s actions and managed to win his case with Strasbourg citing Turkey for violation of human rights in Cyprus and imposing a monetary fine.
After moving up the ecclesiastical ladder, he was elected Metropolitan of Paphos on December 29, 2006.