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Biolaw and the intimate

Funeral practices

Although the authorities have been discussing since 2002 on establishing a cremation service, Cyprus remains one of the few countries in the EU without a crematorium. The issue arose following the desire expressed by many people, mainly atheists or people of non-Orthodox religious beliefs, to be incinerated after death. Many officials have also stated that this should be a matter of personal choice.

The State has repeatedly postponed the introduction of such legislation due to objections made by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus. The Church considers the burial of the dead as a divine command (Gen. 3, 19), as an act of honor and respect to the human body, and at the same time as a symbol of hope and resurrection. Therefore, it condemns cremation and sees it as a reprehensible act, and an offense to the deceased. In 2009, the Holy Metropolitan Bishop of Kyrenia Paul wrote in an article (in Greek) posted on the Church’s website, that “Orthodox Christians who want to be cremated should know that they separate themselves from the divine-human body of Christ. The Church has every right to refuse to perform an Orthodox funeral and memorial service, to those who want their bodies cremated after death. No one can force the Church to act contrary to its beliefs”.

In 2012, a bill was introduced in the Parliament under the title "The Incineration of Human Remains Law of 2012" (in Greek). The bill offers to individuals the right to pre-select whether their body should be cremated after their death. The bill was discussed by the Parliament plenary, however it has not yet been voted.

D 10 December 2014    AEleonora Kyriakou

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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