Europe

Cyprus to hold first gay pride festival

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus' Orthodox Christian Church lashed out against homosexuality Thursday after activists announced the country's first gay pride festival.

The Holy Synod, the Church's highest decision-making body, said it looks upon efforts to give homosexuality social and legal acceptance with "concern and grief." "The Church and science consider homosexuality to be the human being's fall from grace and an illness and not a natural way of life or choice," the Holy Synod said in a statement.

It said although the Church condemns homosexuality, it loves and supports the "fallen" and prays that they seek God's mercy. The statement came after activists said a two-week festival would culminate in a May 31 parade in the capital, Nicosia.

The head of Accept LGBT Cyprus, Costas Gavrielides, said the festival will include film screenings, book presentations, musical events and participants from the Turkish Cypriot community in the ethnically split island's breakaway north.

European Union member Cyprus decriminalized homosexuality a dozen years ago but it still ranks low in terms of gay rights, according to activists. Gavrielides said the country still needs to pass laws recognizing same-sex partnerships and against inciting anti-gay violence.

Related Headlines

  • Thousands march in Cyprus' 1st gay pride parade

    Several thousand people turned out for Cyprus' first gay pride parade on Saturday, exceeding the expectations of organizers who said the event's popularity shows that Cypriots ... 

  • Sheikh Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Qubrusi al-Haqqani

    Cypriot leading figure of Islam's Sufi branch dies

    Sheikh Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Qubrusi al-Haqqani, a leading figure of Sufism, the mystical branch of the Islamic faith, died Wednesday at the age of 92 in the north of ... 

  • Dervis Eroglu

    Rival Cyprus leaders resume peace talks

    The leaders of Cyprus' rival Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities embarked Tuesday on a new round of talks aimed at achieving the long-elusive goal of reunifying the ... 

  • 3 hurt, 1 seriously, in Pamplona bull run

    Three people were injured, one seriously, as thousands of daredevils raced alongside six fighting bulls in the second running of the bulls at Spain's world-famous San Fermin ...