It was organized on the 13th of October 2010, at the Representation of the Church of Cyprus to the European Union, seminar for the 200 hundred years from the elevation of the Archbishop of Cyprus Kyprianos to the Archbishopric throne of Cyprus (1810-1821).
Present to the seminar were H.E. the Metropolitan of Belgium Panteleimon, H.G. Bishop of Eumenias Maximos, H.G. Bishop of Ledra and Abbot of the Holy Royal Monastery of Machaeras Epiphanios, Reverent Archimantrite Iganatios Sotiriades, member of the representative of the Church of Greece to European Union, H.G. the Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to Belgium Mr. Konstantinos Iliades, the Members of the European Parliament Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, Ms. Eleni Theochaous, Mr. Kyriakos Mavronikolas, Ms. Antigoni Papadopoulou and many other guests.
Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolis, Representative of the Church of Cyprus to the European Union opened the seminar. He thanked the participants for their attendance and he stressed among others that Archbishop Kyprianos with his life could nowadays become a great example and that through his martyrdom we could be taught a lot especially nowadays that Cyprus has to face many difficulties.
Mr. Kostis Kokkinoftas researcher of the Holy Royal Monastery of Kykkos developed the theme The life and the martyrdom of Kyprianos Archbishop of Cyprus (1810-1821). He mentioned among others that Kyprianos was one of the most important archbishops of the period of the Ottoman domination at the island of Cyprus. He also added that Kyprianos was a biblical figure that stands out of the pages of the history with the virtues of courage and perseverance, of national pride and Christian humility. He had a very clear awareness of his mission, thus he managed in difficult circumstances and in a period of tyrannical administration, to awaken the people and to improve their spiritual condition. As for the martyrdom of Archbishop Kyprianos Mr. Kokkinoftas stressed that, the Cypriot Archbishop was led to the martyrdom, showing uncommon courage and unique dignity. With his sacrifice, he honored Hellenism; he validated his Greek identity and vindicated his Christian faith. Modestly humbly and with dignity without seeking anyone s pity he marched calmly to his death. Archbishop Kyprianos dismissed all proposals made to him and without hesitation marched to his death with the phrases: «God have mercy, Christ have mercy» teaching by the example of his sacrifice the greatness and the truth of the Christian faith.
His Grace Bishop of Ledra and Abbot of the Holy and Royal Monastery of Machaeras Epiphanios as the last lecturer of the seminar spoke for Archbishop Kyprianos under the general title Getting to know Kyprianos, an outline of his personality through the archival sources. While sketching the personality of archbishop Kyprianos he mentioned that the sources name him as a Man of God an earthly angel, attendant in front of God. Among others the Holy Abbot stressed that Kyprianos was unparalleled in living and unrivalled in dying. As a great teacher he teaches us, his spiritual children, the descendents of his race, both with his life and death. The Greek race is adorned from his death. It is adorned and illuminated by godly radiance because he, the man of God and faithful servant of God and man, the great martyr Kyprianos, the novice victim of the hecatomb, present at the throne of the holy Trinity, never stops to advocate for his flock which are shaken by the storms of the people of foreign races and which seek his God-convincing prayers. His fiery prayers elicit God s mercy and bring down gifts and favors from the sky. Testifying the gifts like grateful children, we offer our thanksgiving and we close this speech with Constantinos Oikonomos s concluding words: I have talked at length, I confess. But when the heart talks too much, no matter how much the pen tries to restrain itself, it has to ramble on.
During the seminar a small length movie was projected for the life and the martyrdom of the Archbishop Kyprianos. The whole seminar ended with byzantine chants from a byzantine choir and an exhibition of photographs with art-crafts that are related with the life of the archbishop Kyprianos and a small reception.
Greeting by H.G. Bishop Porfyrios of Neapolisto the Seminar for the 200 hundred years from the elevation ofthe Archbishop of Cyprus Kyprianos to the Archbishopric throne of Cyprus(1810-1821)Brussels, the 13th of October 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We would like to express our deep appreciation for your attendance here tonight. Many have been written and argued about the life of the martyr of faith and at the same time martyr of his homeland Archbishop Kyprianos. Among the virtues that distinguish to the face of Kyprianos is his high education, his wisdom and of course his prudence. Through his life we can see a true shepherd of his flock like our Lord Jesus Christ. He spends much of his time for the protection of his flock by various hazards and temptations which could at those days extinct it. With his interference for the repression of the revolution of the Turkish Cypriots against the governor in 1804 he gains with various ways the love of the Cypriots and of course the appreciation of Archbishop Chrysanthos. On the 30th of October he was elected archbishop of Nova Justiniana and all Cyprus 1810.
From his new position he erects the first Greek School across the Holy Archbishopric. But what we admire most from the life of Kyprianos it s his voluntary sacrifice for his own flock. Being a prisoner with other 500 distinguished personalities by Koutsiouk-Mehmet, he refuses to escape. He knows that by escaping, the conquerors will slaughter his flock. He says to the person that proposed to him to escape it s better the blood of the bishop instead of the many. By his words we can understand that Kyprianos new not only to live as a Romios but also how to die as one.
We can be taught even in our days by the martrium of Kyprianos. We have to struggle and give our fights for justice in Cyprus with patient and insistence.
We would like to express our gratitude to the lectures of our seminar the Abbot of the Holy Royal Monastery of Machaeras his Grace Bishop of Ledra Mr. Epifanios as well as the distinguished researcher of the Holy Royal Monastery of Kikkos Mr. Kosti Kokkinofta and last but not least you because through your presence tonight you honor Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and all Cyprus Kyprianos.
Academic ConferenceFor Kyprianos, Archbishop of CyprusMain Auditorium of the University of Cyprus22-23 January 2010Proposal byHis Grace the Bishop of Ledra andAbbot of the Holy, Royal and Stavropegic Monastery of MachaerasEpiphaniosGetting to know Kyprianos.
An outline of his personality through archival sources.
Having undertaken the delineation of the personality of Kyprianos of Machaeras, Archbishop of Cyprus, we located a letter, dated 21 August 1816, from the archives of Constantinos Oikonomos of Ex Oikonomon. A man of the church, an important personality of the Greek church of the 19th century, critical and fervid against both clerical and political deviations, he met and associated with Kyprianos for a considerable length of time. This gave him the opportunity to examine the Archbishop, to learn more from his retinue and to submit his testimony, the essence of his heart. But, I, Your Eminent Bishop, having tried for all these through smaller and longer meetings with your delectable soul, continuously think about the wide and fragrant meadow of your virtues. And like a small bee I fly with my intellect, praising and giving testimony to the undefiled blossoms of your achievements. Your virtues move all tongues to sing praises to you. Neither suspicions of flattering, nor traces of corruptness, nor is any other blemish possible to sully the perfect mirror of your praises. These, Eminent father, you have as a testimony and a confession of my eternal respect and duty to your God-crowned head. This declaration is recorded in a letter of his to the eminent, most wise and gracious First Hierarch of Cyprus. This comprehensive report will constitute the cornerstone, the nucleus of the delineation. We will expand from the individual sentences of reports of other people as well, examining the characterizations thoroughly.
After the initial addresses and his references to himself and the things that have happened to him, Constantinos Oikonomos writes: These, Your Eminent Bishop, are things generally believed and very briefly narrated by me. If something good and positive and pleasurable derives from them, I owe it to the divine providence which has atoned me through your paternal blessings. Instead of the favour, eminent father and bishop, and all the other great benefits that you have bestowed upon me in quantity, the time has come for me to offer my thanksgiving to your person.And, please, accept to express myself freely and with frankness before your eminent throne.
With a lot of courage and honesty, as if he were standing in front of him, Constantinos Oikonomos begins to delineate and preach the greatness of character of the eminent, most wise, His Grace the bishop and says:
O, Man of God! A simplistic but, at the same time, a remarkable statement. The sum and substance of the personality of Kyprianos and a title that was given to Saint Alexios. This proves that he is not only a man, an earthly person but he is a man of God. He is a man who, having completed in him the divine image, he has been elevated to the likeness of God. He has become an earthly angel, a heavenly attendant in front of God. He has been wholeheartedly – in all soul, body and spirit – devoted to God, abiding by the first commandment, which says: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with thy entire mind, and with all thy strength. He is a man who does not exist for himself any longer, whether he is alive or dead, he exists only for God. He is a God-bearer. He is a Christ-bearer. He is a Spirit-bearer. He is a saint.
This fact about Kyprianos is confirmed by a quote found in an epistle addressed to the Patriarch Jeremiah IV: Virtuous in everything, a complete Christian, a devout man indeed. It is also supported by the opinion of distinguished men who knew or were known by Kyprianos, that he was a man of exceptional value, of high and noble spirit, worthy to rule, a resolute keeper of duty, a genuine shepherd, good and virtuous, a superlative one, an amazing and respectable man, whose nobility and kindness were exceptional, a remarkable person, who enjoyed a lot of respect for his great erudition and his devoutness, as well as, for his unwavering patience. His forbearing, his Christ-imitating mercy proves him to many people as a worthy devotee of God, as the one, the chosen one. The fervent pursuit of all types of virtue, the precision with which he exercised his duties and the condescending suavity of his conduct had made this remarkable man respected and loved not only by the Christians but by the Muslims, as well. Driven only by God s law he became a one who resides in the sky, a great glory of the hierarchs, one who discloses the sky, a godlike high priest. I have seen a hierarch, Constantinos Oikonomos continues, who adorns the throne a lot more than the throne is possible to adorn a hierarch. A new miracle from upon the earth and a great miracle to utter about and to observe it. The popular muse concludes about Saint Kyprianos that he died, at some point, as a martyr in order to shine. A sanctified hierarch. This is how you appeared, your eminent bishop, and this is how I proclaim thee always and everywhere.
This state has already been revealed to him since childhood. As if chosen from his mother s womb and sanctified like so many others he, about whom God has known everything before ages, has chosen his abode and resort from the beginning of his life at the sacred and venerated monastery of the holy Mother of God, the one called Machaeras. It is here that Kyprianos testifies with a grateful heart and pleasant recollection: In that holy and stavropegic and royal cloister, in which we were spiritually reborn and raised, we ve had, we have and we shall keep our reverence until the ends of our lives.
Kyprianos lived in this environment of strict ascetic comportment, according to the traditions of the ancient holy Fathers and Founders, as recorded by its first abbot, the saint, scholar and wise Neilos, who later became occupant of the first-of-rank bishopric throne of Tamasos.Brought up in a genuine monastic tradition, spiritually reborn, as he himself testifies, he conquered the three first and leading virtues: obedience, indigence and virginity. These basic virtues promote and give birth to others which originate in God. Prayer is born through obedience, which in turn produces profound humility and hearty love, first towards God and then, consequently, towards the neighbour. The freedom of spirit is born through indigence, and prudence is born through virginity, as a means of preserving the clarity of nous. This clarity of nous results in good judgment, perceptiveness and discretion.
Until the end of his life, Kyprianos kept these three basic virtues and augmented them. Starting with the first, obedience, the ordinary and daily commands that make a monk evolve – and in this case Kyprianos – gradually induce the perfect obedience in accordance to Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. So, when it came to the testing of this virtue, how much he had mastered it, he eagerly responded and excelled. The first test came with the order to leave his monastery and go abroad to Moldovlachia. Thus, he follows the example of Abraham who was ordered to abandon his land and his relatives and go abroad. Kyprianos, likewise, humbly accepts and obeys the order, abandoning his beloved monastery, like an alien, a beggar, an indigent and a pauper and marches to Moldovlachia where he remains for nineteen years, serving the Virgin Mary and helping his monastery, which was in a dire economic situation, carrying out the order that he had received with great diligence. Moreover, his staying there was not very pleasant since there were countless abusive accusations against ourselves, the Cypriots, which we heard many times with our own ears.
When he comes back to Cyprus he continues to treasure the virtue of obedience by going to Larnaca as a steward of the dependencies of the Monastery in that region. Again, when Chrysanthos sends the new appointment for Filani, he eagerly tries to carry out the order.
Kyprianos s obedience is also seen later on, when suddenly, through royal command the two Chrysanthos – the Archbishop and the one of Kition – were exiled while Kyprianos and Meletios were reinstated, the first in the Archbishopric throne and the second in the throne of Kition, with an immediate decision.
This happened, not because he aimed for it, but because we got entangled in the development of things, as he himself writes, in the turmoil of the world, that is, in the administration of mundane matters with which we are involved, we were suddenly sought-after and, despite being unworthy, we got promoted to the holiest and apostolic throne of the holiest Archbishopric of New Justinian and All Cyprus. His words: despite being unworthy and despite our feebleness, as well as in another extract: every good deed is attributed to God and not to our own ability, demonstrate the man s great humility as a product of his obedience, something that is also affirmed by Gabriel Zachariou, a merchant and close associate of Archbishop Chrysanthos, who knew Kyprianos personally. He wrote to Chrysanthos: Those who are with the humble steward bow with servility, through me, before your beatitude.
His humility, interwoven with the spirit of prayer which dominates him and which is demonstrated both by asking for the prayers of others, as well as, by surrendering himself and everything else to God through prayer, is evident in many extracts.
These blessings of Kyprianos are declared convincing to God, procession-leading, guides, and lifelong compassionate assistants of both the corporal and spiritual salvation of the faithful.
The climax of Kyprianos s humility and its perfection through his love to God and to his neighbour is his final circular letter towards his priests and the rest of the Christians of the administrative district of Kythrea, in which he states: Above all, my beloved children, we must turn to the holy God s infinite mercy with a contrite and repentant heart, so that he overlooks our sins. We should devote our hopes to the unfathomable sea of his compassion and his omniscient omnipotence will care for our interests. Secondly, we should discard every passion and all coldness that we have for our brothers and we should espouse apathy and genuine love towards our neighbours, as our pacifist God teaches throughout his holy Gospel. And this is the only virtue that is required from our sweetest Jesus and which is capable to atone the Holy God and to cover the multitude of our sins.
That is why he proved himself worthy of undertaking the helm of the church ship because he worked for his homeland for so many years and was a champion in every circumstance and need, and, finally, because he was an oil lamp that was suitably positioned on the lamp stand and pleasantly was to shine to all the residents of the house.
What contributed to this fact is that Kyprianos cultivated in himself the virtue of indigence, the second in the trilogy of the basic virtues. He divests from everything; he dedicates everything as offerings to the Virgin Mary, starting with himself. He leaves his personal possessions, books, holy utensils, icons, portraits and documents to the monastery. Like an indigent, uninvolved and far away from all events and things and people and all earthly links, like a highflying eagle, he flies freely in the heavens.
His cultivation of indigence leads him to the freedom of spirit and to a total trust in God. This is why he urges his children to devote all their hopes to the holy God and His infinite kindness is able to relieve them of all suffering.
Freedom makes people happier and the joy of the heart is evident in the face. Therefore, my beloved children, we should try, in these times, for the love of our Jesus Christ, to keep clear and undefiled this brilliant character, this radiant face, in front of the great King Christ and we swear to God that not a hair of your head will perish.
Kyprianos preserved this radiant face until the end of his life, exerting himself in the virtue of virginity, third in the order of virtues. Virginity is cultivated in two levels, the outer and the inner. In the outer level we refer to the abstinence of any type of carnal relationship. Kyprianos did not remain to the outer level. He delved into the inner level, as well. Since inner virginity chastens the person, it provides a sound and healthy mind, a correct God-pleasing thinking process, discretion, acuteness and, finally, a luminous and radiant face. Constantinos Oikonomos emphasizes that: You shine and illuminate and revive your spiritual children and you adorn everything like an animate statue, copy of the supremely good Creator who adorns and rules everything. Therefore, it is groundless what many people say that the outer splendour becomes an obstacle to the inner philosophy and virtue. This is why his piety is evident. Piety, as a comprehensive kind of virtue, includes many different combination types of virtue.
The Cypriots testify that he is prudent and wise: like a sensible and experienced captain, indeed who cures everyone and tends with great wisdom to the rich and the poor. Addressing Kyprianos, Constantinos Oikonomos confirms by writing the following: I have seen, your eminent father, I have seen in your gracious face, a man, who can perceive intelligently, efficacious to activate that you have in mind and dexterous to express it, having judgment on one side and charity on the other. Kyprianos himself attests that: We want to turn every stone in order to please you and we are hopeful that you will be satisfied with our ministration.
He registers not only the visible present but also the invisible future, as though it were the present: So, all of these, for every difficult situation that may arise, or if we were to be followed by persecution or death (perish the thought). He thus foresees, anticipates, forebodes and predicts what would happen a year later. He had already been prepared for what would take place since many years ago and he showed it. How he showed it, we do not know. He had already stated it during the first years of his primacy: Die for your faith and fight for your country said one of the seven sages of Greece, because those who fight for their faith and country are crowned by God and praised by people. So many martyrs of the Church, why did they spill their blood for their faith and were crowned by God, and the Church continuously praises them in hymns? But also his whole life was a study of death. It was the transcendence of his death. It was his journey through eternity. To this constitute the knowledge of history and theology. This is what Romaness (Romiosyne) and roman morals mean, because, as it has already been said, A roman does not only learn how to live but, primarily, he learns how to die.
Kyprianos s sacrifice was the culmination of his earthly life. The last step of the ladder to heaven. The completion of the journey.Brunoni, a notable doctor of Italian origin who lived in Cyprus, wrote a few months before Kyprianos s death: Kyprianos, you who reside in heaven and are the great glory of the hierarchs, a great glory of the high throne enfolds you in splendor, Your fame and your heavenly name will never perish but will remain indestructible in both life and death, You stepped high on the godly throne where the worthy men of Cyprus reside.
It was the title given to him by Constantinos Oikonomos in his beginner s speech: Man of God. It was the last stroke of his pen with which he signed that he was a true roman, and, as such, he keeps inside him the mystery of Cyprus. The mystery of this place of romaness, of romaness itself, which is the offspring of the Orthodox Church and the greek tradition.
That is why before he exited this world, as well as, after his glorious transition to heaven, he is beseeched by his children: Holy and blissful soul! With your prayer which is powerful in front of the almighty Lord, may you offer comfort to the descendants of the Greek race and drip the honey of the heavenly gifts to them.
O, Father of common and patron of your luminous Christ-bearing lineage. Your blood has flown for your faith and your country, Your heart was warmed up by the noblest feelings for your faith and country, The Church boasts about you, Cyprus brags, Greece is honoured and the Greek race is adorned. Not only then but even today, in all the roman places, his fame is delineated in bright colours and his virtue illuminates and upholds the crew that bears the name of Christ. He has a high station in the hearts, minds and conscience of the people of God. His life is a continuous study, especially today. Because he emerged as a high palm-tree full of spiritual and social virtues. It is for this reason that History, through the ages, both ecclesiastically, as well as, politically, places him amongst the greatest of men and projects him as a role model. A role model for sanctification and a role model for social conduct and living.
Kyprianos was unparalleled in living and unrivalled in dying. As a great teacher he teaches us, his spiritual children, the descendents of his race, both with his life and death. The greek race is adorned from his death. It is adorned and illuminated by godly radiance because he, the man of God and faithful servant of God and man, the great martyr Kyprianos, the novice victim of the hecatomb, present at the throne of the holy Trinity, never stops to advocate for his flock which are shaken by the storms of the people of foreign races and which seek his God-convincing prayers. His fiery prayers elicit God s mercy and bring down gifts and favours from the sky. Testifying the gifts like grateful children, we offer our thanksgiving and we close this speech with Constantinos Oikonomos s concluding words: I have talked at length, I confess. But when the heart talks too much, no matter how much the pen tries to restrain itself, it has to ramble on. I apologize for the verbosity and I humbly kneel before your eminent throne. I plead for your God-convincing prayers, which have been now, as well as, many times throughout my life, assistants and contributors to my physical and spiritual salvation.
Kykkos Monastery Research Centre
The life and martyrdom of Kyprianos, Archbishop of Cyprus (1810-1821)
Kyprianos was one of the leading Cypriot prelates of the Ottoman period. Born in 1756 in Strovolos, he joined as a novice, at an early age, the Brotherhood of Machairas Monastery, where he received his first education. Subsequently, he served in the Metochion of Strovolos and was later ordained as a Deacon. In 1783, he departed, along with the Archimandrite Charalambos, for the Danubian Principalities, for the purpose of collecting money for the monastery. During his stay in the Principalities, Kyprianos was ordained as a Priest and served in the Prince’s church in Jassy, while he attended a Greek school, greatly expanding his intellectual horizons. In 1795, the future Archbishop undoubtedly played a part in the issuing by Prince Michael Soutsos of a Chrysobull, which granted an annual stipend to the monastery of Machairas and, in the same year, he may have contributed to the issuing of a sigillion in favour of the monastery by the Cypriot Ecumenical Patriarch Gerasimos III.
Kyprianos returned to Cyprus from the Danubian Principalities in 1802, subsequently serving as the head of the Metochion of Strovolos and Oikonomos of the Archbishopric. Two years later, during the revolt of 1804, he was given the opportunity to demonstrate his great diplomatic skills, which he had fostered in the princely courts of the Principalities, by saving the old Archbishop Chrysanthos from an enraged mob. Eventually, in 1810, he rose to the archiepiscopal throne, which he served with zeal and devotion until his martyrdom.
Kyprianos dealt with the serious social issues of his time, he successfully managed the economic problems facing the Church, and brought peace and stability within it. His duties included the collection of taxes, since he regained this right, which had been acquired by his predecessors. Related to this issue is a letter, dated February 7, 1812, sent to him by the consuls of Larnaca, with which they congratulated him on the fact that he had managed to take control of taxation “for the relief and benefit of all the inhabitants”. He also took substantial measures for eliminating the costs of tax-collection and for the support of tax-collectors by the administration and not by the taxpayer, while he ensured that this responsibility would remain in the hands of the Archbishopric.
Kyprianos was a biblical figure, and stands out in the pages of history with the virtues of courage and perseverance, of national pride and Christian humility. He had a very clear awareness of his mission and asked on every occasion for the prayers of the faithful and for God’s help for its achiement, as can be seen from his letter to the fathers of the monastery of Vatopedi of Mount Athos, dated September 21, 1813. Thus, he managed, in difficult circumstances and in a period of tyrannical administration, to awaken the people and to improve their spiritual condition.
Among his achievements as an Archbishop, we may note the founding of the Hellenic School of Nicosia in 1812, for the education of the Greek children, to which he gave a broader educational character, by including in the program a wide range of teaching of Greek letters. Also worth mentioning is his role in the establishment of the Hellenic School of Limassol, for which end he contributed money and advice to the notables of the city. Moreover, he enriched churches, such as those of the monasteries of Apostle Barnabas and St. Thekla in Mosfiloti and that of St. Savas in Nicosia, with religious books, icons and sacred objects.