A controversial Orthodox Christian bishop in Cyprus, who made headlines after saying that homosexuality is caused by mothers who enjoy anal sex, is now being investigated by the police and has been dressed down by colleagues.

Morphou Bishop Neophytos made a speech in June in which he claimed that homosexuality was “a problem, which is usually transmitted by parents to the child.”

He then claimed that it was caused by women who enjoy anal sex and that when mothers do that, “a desire is created, which is then transmitted to the unborn child.”

In another excerpt from the same talk, Bishop Neophytos claimed to be able to detect gay men by their smell.

Kyrenia Bishop Chrysostomos distanced himself from his colleague’s comments, saying “We believe a cleric should not meddle in couples’ bedrooms,”

The comments were roundly condemned after they made headlines all around the world, and on Thursday, Attorney General Costas Clerides said he had instructed the island’s police chief to “investigate the possibility of any criminal offence committed” by the bishop through his comments about “homosexuals and related matters.”

A government spokesman had earlier called on the bishop to retract his statements, saying that they “insult the dignity and equality” of the Cypriot people.

Cyprus adopted hate speech legislation four years ago and Bishop Neophytos may become the first person in the country to be prosecuted under the law.

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