Pope Francis’ visit to Cyprus constitutes a historic event, an official press release has said on Wednesday.
The visit will take place from 2 to 4 December. This is the second time that a Primate of the Roman Catholic Church will be visiting Cyprus.
According to an official press release issued by the PIO, the President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, is expected to brief Pope Francis on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, Turkey’s recent provocations both on land and at sea and the ongoing efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.
“The efforts made and the initiatives taken by the UN are hindered by Turkish provocations. The Republic of Cyprus seeks to find a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, a solution that will respect the UN Security Council Resolutions and will be in line with the European acquis”, it is noted.
The President of the Republic is expected to inform the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church about the humanitarian issue of the missing persons, the protection of cultural heritage and the efforts made to promote the interreligious dialogue.
The migration/refugee issue, the environment protection issue, the tackling of climate change and issues relating to human rights will also be discussed.
The press release notes that the Pope’s official welcome ceremony in Cyprus will take place at the Presidential Palace on 2 December. The Pope will be awarded honors of Head of State. He will also visit Archbishop Chrysostomos II and will have meetings with the leaders of the Catholic church in Cyprus. On 3 December he will address a Holy Mass at GSP Stadium.
Of symbolic significance during Pope Francis’ trip to Cyprus will be the meeting with refugees and immigrants in Lefkosia. An Ecumenical prayer will follow at the Catholic Church of the Holy Cross in Lefkosia.
Cyprus is located at the easternmost end of the Mediterranean and receives, daily, a large number of immigrants who have as their final destination other countries of the European Union.
The authorities of the Republic of Cyprus are doing everything possible to tackle the phenomenon, always with respect to the human rights and the basic freedoms of these people. The largest number of immigrants arriving on the territory controlled by the Republic of Cyprus comes from Turkey through the occupied areas.
Pope Francis will depart from Cyprus on 4 December to travel to Greece.