Latin Church superior to the Orthodox Greek

According to Hill, the Latin Church was established in Cyprus in 1196, with an Archbishop residing in Nicosia and three suffragan bishoprics established at Paphos, Lemesos and Famagusta. Macheras (15th cent.) says that the kings took away the tithes and the villages which had belonged to the Greek dioceses, and gave them to the Latins. A bull of 1196 laid down provisions forbidding, with due penalties according to Hackett, the erection of churches or oratories within the bounds of the diocese without the bishop’s consent [George Hill, 1948]. According to Sakellarios (1890), since 1221 the Greeks had four bishops [dediced in 1215, imposed in 1221 according to Mas Latrie], submitted to the Latin Church, as well as those of the Syrians, Jacobites and Nestorians. In 1251, according to Mas Latrie, Pope Celestine III gave the Greeks (and the Syrian Christians together) the permission to be lead again by an archbishop, until it was taken back again in 1260 [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

The rulers possessed Greek religious institutions, such as the one of Stavrovouni [monastery of the Holy Cross] as we read from Boustronios: “And on this day [1474] they brought the abbot of the Cross in Famagusta, by the name of Fra Simon de Santandrea…” [Georgios Voustronios, 15th cent.].

According to Mas Latrie (19th cent.), the Orthodox Christians hated the Latins more than the Saracens, because they felt the independence of their church and their religion threatened by them [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890]. Such feeling we have it in written form by (Saint) Neophytus in 1196, who in his document comments negatively the third Crusade of Frederick A’ and Richard Lionheart to Jerusalem: “ουδέ γαρ ηυδόκησεν η πρόνοια κύνας εξεώσαι, και λύκους αντισάξαι” [For Providence was not well pleased to thrust out dogs, and to bring wolves in] [Claude Delaval Cobham, 1895]. Eleni Palaiologou becomes the queen of Cyprus in 1441. According to Florio Bustron, she was not pleased just to be the queen but also enjoyed to rule the Kingdom. Hence she altered the scenery in regards to the matters of the Church, giving the Greek clergy the superiority against the Latin Church for the first time during the Frankish rule [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

General information regarding the religions of the Island

According to Jacobus de Verona in 1335, there were in Cyprus the Christian Catholic [conquerors], Greek Orthodox Christians, the Jacobites, who were circumcised, and were baptised with the Greek rite. There were Armenians, who performed their worship like Catholic Christians but said the service in the Greek tongue, also Georgians and Maronites. Those two sects are baptized like Catholic Christians but use the Greek service. Also Nestorians, so-called by the faithless heretic Nestor, who say that Christ was only a mere man, and perform their services in Greek, but do not follow the Greeks but have a service of their own. Benjamin of Tudela in 1160 adds Jews and heretic Jews [Claude Delaval Cobham, 1895]. After 1360, according to Florio Bustron (16th cent.), the Greek and Latins of the island started to come closer together, and the Latins to go to Orthodox churches, against the orders of the Pope Urban IV. Having learnt in 1368, according to Mas Latrie, that the Cypriot Latins were acting against the orders of the Latin church, baptized their children in Orthodox churches, married at home, and many ladies of the Catholic doctrine assembled in Greek churches and worship God according to the Orthodox doctrine, Pope Urban IV ordered the Latin archbishop of Nicosia to resist on these deviations [Athanasios Sakellarios, 1890].

In regards to Nestorians Hill (1948) mentions: “A bishop sometimes resided in the island; otherwise, they were under the Metropolitan of Tarsus, himself subordinate to the Patriarch of Baghdad. They were to be of great importance in the fourteenth century, when they built the church at Famagusta identified with that known to the Greeks as Agios Georgios Xorinos” [George Hill, 1948].


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