Cyprus, Church Of
CYPRUS, CHURCH OF. The Church of Cyprus is in communion and in doctrinal agreement with the other Orthodox Churches of the East (see ORTHODOX EASTERN CHURCH), but is independent and subject to no patriarch. This position it has always claimed (see, however, W. Bright, Notes on' the Canons, on Ephesus 8). At any rate, its independence " by ancient custom " was recognized, as against the claims of the patriarch of Antioch, by the council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, by an edict of the emperor Zeno (to whom the church had sent a cogent argument on its own behalf, the alleged body of its reputed founder St Barnabas, then just discovered at Salamis), and by the Trullan Council in 692. Attempts have been made subsequently by the patriarchs of Antioch to claim authority over it, the last as recently as 1600; but they came to nothing. And excepting for the period during which Cyprus was in the hands of the Lusignans and the Venetian Republic (1193-1571), the Church has never lost its independence. It receives the holy ointment (nvpov) from without, till 1860 from Antioch and subsequently from Constantinople, but this is a matter of courtesy and not of right. Of old there were some twenty sees in the island. The bishop of the capital, Salamis or Constantia, was constituted metropolitan by Zeno, with the title " archbishop of all Cyprus," enlarged subsequently into " archbishop of Justiniana Nova and of all Cyprus," after an enforced expatriation to Justinianopolis in 688. Zeno also gave him the unique privileges of wearing and signing his name in the imperial purple, etc., which are still preserved. A Latin hierarchy was set up in 1196 (an archbishop at Nicosia with suffragans at Limasol, Paphos and Famagusta), and the Greek bishops were made to minister to their flocks in subjection to it. The sees were forcibly reduced to four, the archbishopric was ostensibly abolished, and the bishops were compelled to do homage and swear fealty to the Latin Church. This bondage ceased at the conquest of the island by the Turks : the Latin hierarchy disappeared (the cathedral at Nicosia is now used as a mosque), and the native church emerged into comparative freedom. In 1821, it is true, all the bishops and many of their flock were put to death by way of discouraging sympathies with the Greeks; but successors were soon consecrated, by bishops sent from Antioch at the request of the patriarch of Constantinople, and on the whole the Church has prospered. The bishops-elect required the berat of the sultan; but having received this, they enjoyed no little civil importance. Since 1878 the berat has not been given, and the bishops are less influential. The suppressed sees have never been restored, but the four which survive (now known as Nicosia, Paphos, Kition and Kyrenia) are of metropolitan rank, so that the archbishop, whose headquarters, first at Salamis, then at Famagusta, are now at Nicosia, is a primate amongst metropolitans. There are several monasteries dating from the nth century and onwards; also an archiepiscopal school at Nicosia, founded in 1812 and raised to the status of a " gymnasion " in 1893; and a high school for girls.
Authorities: Ph. Georgiou, El^ffas 'laropixai rtpl njt 'EnK\i)rica rijs Kbirpov (Athens, 1875); K. Kouriokurineos (Archbishop of Cyprus), 'InTopia xpoi-oXofun) rrjs vi\ao\i Kiiirpov (yenice, 1788); de Mas Latrie, Histoire de I'tte de Chypre sous les princes de la maison de Lusignan (Paris, 1852 f.); H. T. F. Duckworth, The Church of Cyprus (London, 1900) ; J. Hackett, History of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus (1901). (W. E. Co.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)