Sophronios III of Cyprus

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His Beatitude Sophronios III of Cyprus was the Archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus of the Church of Cyprus from 1865 to 1900. He led the church during the beginning of the British occupation of Cyprus.

Life

Abp. Sophronios was born in 1825 in the town of Phini on the island of Cyprus to Panagiotis Antoniou from Phini and Christina Michail from Prodromos. From 1847 to 1853, he lived and studied in Smyrna before continuing his studies in Athens for nine years, from 1853 to 1861. He was elected Archbishop of Nea Justiniana and All Cyprus in 1865. In February 1879, Abp. Sophronios, with his metropolitans of Paphos, Kyrenia, and Kitium, attempted unsuccessfully to retained the privileged status for the Church with the British government that they had under the Ottoman Turks. The privileged status had led to a multicultural church society that preserved Church rights.

The British response created a split in the Cypriot church leadership as a Greek nationalistic faction rose within it that challenged British rule and the multicultural church society that preserved Cypriot Church rights and Cyprus’ integrated society. This split led to the rise of the Hellenic nationalistic political movement on Cyprus and the policy of enosis.

When in 1886, the British consecrated the Anglican Church of St. Paul in Nicosia, Abp. Sophronios obtained a pledge from the Anglican Bishop Sandford not to proselytize, a pledge that he honored.

Abp. Sophronios reposed on May 23, 1900. The see remained vacant for almost eight years after his repose, until the election of Abp. Kyrillos II in March 1908, as the two factions of the Cypriot church contended for leadership under the British rule.

In March 2010, the tombstone from the grave of Abp. Sophronios was vandalized along with the stones from the graves of Abps. Kyrillos II and Kyrillos III.

Succession box:
Sophronios III of Cyprus
Preceded by:
Makarios I
Archbishop of Cyprus
1865-1900
Succeeded by:
Kyrillos II
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