From Cyprus Tourism Organization
Pope in Cyprus for the first time
Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Cyprus today on a three-day "pilgrimage" trip.
The pontiff, who said he was following in the footsteps of the apostles
Paul and Barnabas, said the island was blessed by a "resilient Christian
heritage" and saluted the head of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, Archbishop
Chrysostomos II, as his "brother".
The Pope was greeted in the southwestern resort of Paphos by Chrysostomos
and by President Demetris Christofias, who said: "Cyprus is in need of your
words of peace, given the difficult situation the island is facing."
Turkish troops have been stationed in the breakaway north of the island since a
1974 invasion in reaction to a Greek Cypriot coup seeking to unite the
island with Greece.
"Allow me to say that Cyprus is in need of your prayers and your
contribution in order to quickly regain its unity and freedom," the president added.
The 83-year-old pontiff made an oblique reference to the division, which
continues after decades of fruitless UN-sponsored talks. "May the love of
your families and the desire to live in harmony with your neighbours" under
God's protection "inspire you patiently to resolve the remaining concerns
that you share with the international community for the future of your
island," he said.
Benedict is the first pope to visit Cyprus, and this is his first trip to
an Orthodox country. His first stop after leaving the Paphos airport was
the nearby ancient church of Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa and St Paul's
Pillar, where he was to take part in an "ecumenical celebration" with
Chrysostomos, who has called on people to welcome him.
He also has an official mission to hand over to Catholic prelates who have
come to Cyprus from the Middle East a working document for a synod on
regional issues to be held in October.
The pope will spend Saturday and Sunday in the capital Nicosia, where he
will celebrate two masses.
For more information please contact our office.
Tasoula Manaridis, Director
Cyprus Tourism Organization
Tel: (212) 683-5280