The Archbishop of Cyprus has been condemned by politicians in the European Parliament, after he said that governments had “weakened” their “moral integrity” through equal rights.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II made the comments at the Council of the Heads of the Christian Orthodox Church last week, to say Christians should “condemn homosexuality.”

He spoke of plans by Cyprus’ Government to submit a bill to legalise civil partnerships in April, saying that governments had demonstrated “weakening moral integrity” by pushing for equality and same-sex marriage.

LGBT organisation ACCEPT, said “Excommunication and alienation is not the right way to promote the message of God.”

Cypriot Member of the LGBT Intergroup Andreas Pitsillides MEP, reacted: “For the umpteenth time I publicly condemn as a human, as a theologian and mainly as a Member of the European Parliament the racist and homophobic statements made by the Archbishop of Cyprus.

“I emphatically stress these are clearly against the spirit of the Gospel of love of Christ and certainly violate all European and international treaties protecting human rights against any form of discrimination based on race, gender, religion and sexual orientation.”

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “The statements by the Archbishop are a reminder that opponents of equality are still there, yet also show how far Cyprus’ Orthodox Church is detached from reality. A recent survey found that a majority of Cypriot citizens is in favour of civil partnership legislation.”

“This government is doing the right thing by continuing on the road to equal rights for everyone.”