Orthodox Christian bishop under criminal investigation for comments on homosexuality, anal sex

Police in Cyprus are investigating an Orthodox Christian bishop over his comments on sexuality and anal sex.

The attorney general of the Mediterranean island said he instructed police to launch a probe to determine whether the bishop committed a crime.

Bishop Neophytos of Morphou has long made headlines for his controversial comments. But police said this time he went too far.

The bishop sparked outrage when he was seen on video in June saying homosexuality could be transferred to the unborn if their mothers had anal sex while pregnant. He also said homosexual men have a “distinctive stink” from sleeping with other men.

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“It follows an abnormal sexual act between the parents. To be more clear, anal sex,” he said in the video. “Saint Porphyrios says that when the woman likes that, a desire is born, and then the desire is passed on to the child.”

Tourist walk in the old city by a Christian Orthodox church in downtown Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. Cyprus' attorney general says he has instructed police to launch an investigation into whether an Orthodox Christian bishop has committed a criminal offense over his remarks on homosexuals. 

Tourist walk in the old city by a Christian Orthodox church in downtown Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. Cyprus' attorney general says he has instructed police to launch an investigation into whether an Orthodox Christian bishop has committed a criminal offense over his remarks on homosexuals.  (AP)

Government officials in Cyprus have called the comments “insulting” and "injurious.” The country's human rights commissioner said the remarks were discriminatory.

But, even after the video went viral, the bishop defended the statement. In an interview with the Cyprus Mail, he compared homosexuality to a child born with musical talent.

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“I expressed the position of the Church and the position of the saints,” he told the news organization.

The Orthodox Group of Dogmatic Research said in an article posted on the Cyprus' church Website that Bishop Neophytos' remarks were misconstrued and taken out context and that the essence of the cleric's message was that the parents' spiritual state affects the child.

The bishop sparked outrage when he was seen on video saying homosexuality could be transferred to the unborn if their mothers had anal sex while pregnant. He also said homosexual men have a “distinctive stink” from sleeping with other men.

The bishop sparked outrage when he was seen on video saying homosexuality could be transferred to the unborn if their mothers had anal sex while pregnant. He also said homosexual men have a “distinctive stink” from sleeping with other men. (AFP/Getty)

Cyprus' Orthodox Church considers homosexuality a sin, but hasn't officially taken a stance on the bishop's remarks. The leader of the church, Archbishop Chrysostomos, appeared to distance himself from the bishop's remarks.

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The bishop also came under fire earlier this week for saying it was hypocritical to mourn the child victims of convicted serial killer Nicos Metaxas given the country’s high abortion rate.

“You had three abortions, your own babies, and now hypocrite, you criticize Nicolas?” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.