The Archbishop of America, Elpidoforos, expressed his sincere regret for the pain he inadvertently caused to the Cypriot community and to the flock of the Greek-American community. In a statement, the Archbishop hastened to clarify that his presence at the inauguration of the “House of Turkey” in New York does not in any way constitute an acceptance of the sufferings caused by the occupation of the island of Cyprus. According to the Archbishop, he understands the reactions and pain of the people, as he and his family have experienced uprooting.
“As a Greek from Istanbul, my family and I have experienced the terrible consequences of the uprooting from our ancestral homes, as well as many of my compatriots, but also of Imbria and Tenedia, due to another escalation of the Cyprus issue in the 70’s. I have grown up with this pain, that is why I understand the pain of our Cypriot brothers, as well as their feelings and reactions. I consider them expressions of pain of people who lost everything: property, homelands, dreams, family, relatives.
So I want to declare to everyone that my presence at Monday’s event could never be a recognition of a calamity, a refugee, an occupation. My presence has always had the same constant orientation: honest and courageous dialogue, for a future with peace and protection of religious freedom. We are all united in defending our national interests, each in his own way and role. But united, committed to the same goal.
I sincerely regret the pain I inadvertently caused to my Cypriot and Greek-American brothers, especially to my favorite flock. I pray for a just and lasting solution to be found in the martyrdom of Cyprus, as the Cypriot people expect it to be, based on international law and the protection of human rights, in accordance with UN resolutions, and I work for this purpose.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America stands for a century next to Hellenism everywhere, defending its expectations. “Our unity is my ministry and my debt.”