The Cyprus Church on Tuesday called for the withdrawal of the country’s controversial entry into this year’s Eurovision song contest titled “El Diablo.”
A statement by the Holy Synod, the Church’s highest decision-making body, charged that the song makes an international mockery of the country’s moral foundations by advocating “our surrender to the devil and promoting his worship.”
The song “essentially praises the fatalistic submission of humans to the devil’s authority” and urged the state broadcaster to replace it with one that “expresses our history, culture, traditions and our claims.”
The Church said it has received a “deluge of reactions from thousands” of people who express their “justified disappointment” over the song, including many “respected musicians.”
“From whatever angle you chose to look it and whichever explanations are given about the lyrics of the song, they don’t send the most ideal messages which must be sent from a semi-occupied homeland that struggles for freedom and to prevent its complete subjugation,” the Holy Synod’s statement said.
With the Church now having officially weighed in, the controversy has taken on a new dimension.
Song accused of satanic connotations
The song, by Elena Tsagkrinou, and its lyrics — “I gave my heart to el diablo… because he tells me I’m his angel” — caused a stir among many, who consider it to be fraught with Satanic connotations.
Tsagkrinou, a 26-year old singer from Greece, now features among the top entries for 2021, as her song has been received exceptionally well by European audiences and Eurovision fans.
The Church’s official stance came a few days after an ultra-conservative group of Theologists has created an online petition to withdraw the song.
The petition titled ‘“Cancellation of El Diablo song participation in Eurovision” asks Cyprus’ Broadcasting Corporation RIK (CyBC) to cancel the country’s entry as ”The participation of Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song EL DIABLO is scandalous for us Christians.”
Last week, a man was charged with uttering threats and causing a disturbance when he barged onto the grounds of the public broadcaster to protest what he condemned as a “blasphemous” song that was an affront to Christianity.
Vocal critics included a senior cleric, an organization representing theologians who teach in high schools, a far-right party and many ordinary Cypriots who took to social media to heap scorn and “disgust” at the song.
Cyprus broadcaster defends song
However, many others defended the tune in social media posts as a simple ditty about a “scorching love affair” gone bad or to label its detractors as religious zealots.
CyBC Board Chairman Andreas Frangos insisted that the song won’t be withdrawn and that it wasn’t the broadcaster’s intention to insult anyone’s religious sentiments.
”The song which will represent Cyprus to the 65th Eurovision Song Contest tells the tale of this girl that has found herself entangled in a relationship with someone as bad as ‘El Diablo,’” CyBC notes in a statement.
”It regards the eternal struggle between good and evil. Through this problematic relationship with signs of Stockholm syndrome and despite the paranoia she is experiencing, she is seeking help towards freedom,” the announcement of the Cypriot Broadcaster reads.
”In the end, as they say, the truth always shines. Especially these days, we hope the song and its proper interpretation will inspire not only women but also everyone who faces similar situations,” CyBC concluded.