BOSTON – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, in a statement on September 23, apologized to his flock, especially those in Greek-American and Cypriot-American Communities, asking for forgiveness for attending the recent inauguration of the ‘Turkish Center’ in Manhattan in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ersin Tatar, the Turkish Cypriot leader in the occupied territories of Cyprus.
The entire statement follows:
“As a Greek from Constantinople, my family and I have experienced the terrible consequences of the uprooting from our ancestral homes, like many of my compatriots, but also of Imbros and Tenedos, due to another escalation of the Cyprus issue in the 1970s. I have grown up with this pain, which is why I understand the pain of our Cypriot brothers, as well as their feelings and reactions. I consider their expressions of the pain of people who lost everything: property, homelands, dreams, family, relatives.
“Thus, I want to declare to all 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 am sincerely sorry for the pain I inadvertently caused to my Cypriot- and Greek-American brothers, and especially to my beloved flock. I pray for a just and lasting solution to be found martyred Cyprus, as the Cypriot people expect this, based on international law and the protection of human rights, in accordance with UN resolutions, and I am working for this outcome.
“The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America stands for a century next to Hellenism everywhere, defending its expectations. Our unity is my ministry and my obligation.”