A Cypriot bishop recently condemned for controversial comments on homosexual men has said it is hypocritical to mourn the child victims of a convicted serial killer given the country’s high abortion rate.
Bishop Neophytos of Morphou suggested as long as abortions continue, crimes such as Nicolas Metaxas' murder of five foreign women and two children will show the country's hypocrisy, according to the Cypriot English language news website, In-Cyprus.
“You had three abortions, your own babies, and now hypocrite, you criticize Nicolas,” Neophytos said in a speech given on June 25, according to the website.
The Bishop of Morphou Neophytos conducts a ceremony at St Mammas Church in Moorphou. (AFP/Getty)
Cyprus decriminalized abortion in 2018, passing a bill that allows women to terminate a pregnancy at up to 12 weeks, or 19 weeks in the case of rape. Officials said that more than 9,000 illegal abortions were taking place each year, Malta Today reported at the time.
Metaxas, whose name Neophytos reportedly invoked in his abortion comments, pleaded guilty in June to killing seven foreign women and girls over the course of nearly 3 years. He was sentenced to seven life terms in prison.
Cyprus Special Disaster Response Unit investigators carry a covered suitcase on a stretcher after it was retrieved from a man-made lake near the village of Mitsero, outside of the capital Nicosia, Cyprus, on June 4. Inside the suitcase is believed to be one of the victims of a 35-year-old Cypriot military officer. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
The victims, three Filipino women and the daughter of one of them, as well as a Nepalese woman and a Romanian mother and her daughter, were sought out by Metaxas on social networks using the handle "Orestes35," and having sex with them before the killings. The children were aged 6 and 8, the BBC reported.
Accept LGBTI Cyprus, an organization that says it fights against sexual discrimination in the country, shared the video online, calling his remarks “hate speech.” Social media users echoed the group’s sentiments in the comments, with some even calling for a protest against the bishop.
The bishop earlier sparked outrage for video of homophobic comments made during that same speech, where he claimed men are born gay if their mothers had anal sex while pregnant, and said homosexual men smell bad.
Fox News' Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.