HC Deb 04 August 1890 vol 347 cc1771-2
MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies with reference to the Proclamation read by the Queen's High Commissioner, and afterwards promulgated in Turkish and Greek throughout the island, on the occasion of the assumption of the Government of the Island of Cyprus in the name of Her Majesty, confirming the Cypriotes, both Moslems and Christians, in all the rights and privileges they then enjoyed; whether one of those privileges was that the name of an Orthodox Bishop was submitted, after the election and consecration of the Prelate, to His Imperial Majesty the Sultan for approval and confirmation; and whether, as the formal recognition of a Bishop is a question quite apart from the levying of episcopal dues and does not depend upon any Council, legislative or otherwise, the Secretary of State will re-consider his recent decision' and recommend the Queen to confirm, by Warrant under the Royal Sign Manual, the election of the Bishops of Kition, Kyrenia, and Paphos, in accordance with the prayer of the Petition presented be the Archbishop of Cyprus?


The Proclamation in question does not altogether accord with the description of it contained in the first paragraph of the hon. Member's question, although, of course, there is no intention of interfering with the religious privileges of the inhabitants. Her Majesty's Government are, however, advised that the necessity of obtaining the Sultan's confirmation of a Bishop's election was not a privilege of the inhabitants, but a restriction on a privilege. The freedom of Christian communities to elect their Bishops is now absolute and unqualified. The Bishops are, of course, fully recognised by the Local Authorities for all legal and social purposes as soon as elected.