Archbishop Chrysostomos II, the head of Cyprus’ independent Greek Orthodox Church, died early Monday at the age of 81, his doctors said.
A forceful character who stared down pro-Russian elements in the Church, Chrysostomos was among the Orthodox leaders to recognize the independence of the Church of Ukraine from the Orthodox Church in Moscow in 2020.
He had been critical of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Mr. Putin can go to Church, he can take communion, but at the same time kills. Is that his Orthodoxy?” He said in an interview with the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation earlier this year.
Chrysostomos was elected Archbishop in 2006. The Church of Cyprus is an independent branch of the Eastern Orthodox communion.
Diagnosed with cancer four years ago, Chrysostomos took a dim view of clerics resisting vaccination to the coronavirus pandemic, threatening to fire those vocal against the jab.