The ruling body of the Church of Cyprus elected Georgios, a theologian and former chemistry teacher, as the new archbishop to succeed the late Chrysostomos II on Saturday.
Georgios, 73, will be the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, which has extensive political and social sway over the island in the eastern Mediterranean with stakes in both enterprises and real estate.
Georgios was chosen by a large margin to serve on the 16-member Holy Synod after studying chemistry in both Greece and Great Britain and later instructing at high schools.
Since Chrysostomos’ passing, Georgios has been in charge of the Church. The late Archbishop was close to Georgios, and it was he who recognised the Orthodox Church of Ukraine’s independence from Russia.
Even though it caused a divide within its ranks, it is one of a few number of Orthodox Churches to do so globally.
Three candidates emerged as front-runners after a public poll on December 18. In that election, Georgios came in second place, much behind Limassol’s Athanasios.
Athanasios, who is regarded as ultra-conservative by some but progressive by others, also won the public vote in the most recent archbishop elections in 2006 but lost due to manoeuvring by other clergy members.