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Question 40.

Father your blessing!
I have read on Wikipedia that the Archbishop of Cyprus is bestowed several unique honours. An example of this is the pastoral staff his Beatitude uses. It is different from others given that it lacks the double serpents and in place has a round ball with the cross on top. Given the lack of authenticity Wikipedia's articles contain, I was wondering if you could explain these honours or privileges (and any others) that are bestowed upon the Primate of the Cypriot Church.

With respect and gratitude,



Answer to Question 40.

Dear Evangelos,

The Church of Cyprus was and is one of the oldest autocephalous Churches. In the fifth century the island was under the secular administration of the Duke of Antioch. The Bishop of Antioch thought this gave him the right to have the authority over the ecclesiastical administration of Cyprus which was contrary to the Apostolic canons. The Cypriot bishops protested to this interference at the third Ecumenical Council that was held in Ephesus in 431. The Council in her 8th canon decreed that Cyprus was Autocephalous, in other words self-governing and was not subject to any Patriarchate. Later in 478AD, the Archbishop of Cyprus Anthemius, after seeing a vision, found the tomb and relics of St. Barnabas. Upon his breast was a copy of St. Matthew's Gospel. The Archbishop offered the Gospel to the Byzantine Emperor Zenon who in turn gave the Archbishop of Cyprus the right to three imperial prerogatives which continue to this day. They are to write in red ink, to wear a purple cloak and instead of the usual bishop’s staff to hold an imperial sceptre.

With love in Christ
Fr. Christopher