A bishop from Cyprus caused controversy this week with his statements on homosexuality and abortion, forcing the government and the head of the church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos, to condemn his views.
Morphou Bishop Neophytos stirred widespread anger when he claimed during a lecture in June, that homosexuality is transferred to unborn children if a pregnant woman has anal sex. The bishop’s remarks were only made public this week.
A further snippet revealed that the clergyman had also said in the past that gay men had a “nasty smell.”
In the same speech, the bishop also stated: “A country that carries out so many abortions and murders its children, is it impossible that a murderer could be among us?”
These latter comments were made in light of the murders committed on Cyprus by the serial killer Nicos Metaxas. The bishop said it was hypocritical to be saddened by the death of two children killed by Metaxas when Cyprus carries out so many abortions.
Metaxas was earlier this summer sentenced to seven life sentences for killing five foreign women as well as two young girls.
Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said the government was “greatly troubled and dismayed” by the comments linking homosexuality to heterosexuals having anal sex, which have brought condemnation of the Bishop on social media.
Prodromou said the remarks clash with Cyprus’ laws protecting the rights of all its citizens, and that they “insult the dignity and injure the reputation” of many people and should be retracted. The spokesman also said that the country’s human rights commissioner also considers the remarks discriminatory.
Archbishop Chrysostomos said that the controversial statements on homosexuality made by Bishop Neophytos “do not represent” him.
The head of the church of Cyprus told daily newspaper Politis that the bishop’s opinions “do not represent him. They are clearly his personal opinions.”