I was in traffic today beside a double-cabin pick-up truck. Stuck to the rear window was a small blue and white sticker that depicted an outline of the island of Cyprus super-imposed on a Greek flag. Underneath (in Greek) was the sentence ‘I am proud to be a Greek Orthodox Christian’. “Hmmm,” I thought, as I translated the words (one of my ways of practising Greek is to attempt translation of any signs I see). “That doesn’t make much sense…”
The Cypriot church is auto-cephalos, meaning that it has its own Patriarch, the Archbishop. Therefore, any one baptised into the Orthodox faith in Cyprus is not Greek Orthodox, but Cypriot Orthodox – a minor technicality, I suppose, but ‘the devil is in the details’… Then I started wondering what on Earth the middle-aged male driver had to be ‘proud’ of with regards to his faith.
The Cypriot Church is the largest landowner and the richest corporation in the country. It is notoriously corrupt and has recently enjoyed several juicy sex scandals. Unlike churches of other denominations that have a policy of good works within the community, charitable works by the Church of Cyprus are confined to individual priests and their personal interests and compassion -- religious spending here seems to go on Soviet made tanks (love thy neighbour) and cold concrete cathedrals in communities too small to justify more than a parish hall (kickbacks to cronies and profit for the Church-owned cement works).
Oh well, excuse my cynicism.
Further down the road, I found myself behind a little red run-about. The sticker on the rear bumper read: Caution. Blonde Thinking. “Keep your distance!” I thought, glad that I’m now going grey.