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Pope Benedict XVI to Cyprus: Let Mary always protect you

04 June 2010 / 20:06:07  GRReporter
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With state honors, festive mood and extraordinary security measures Cyprus welcomed Pope Benedict XVI, who chose to step for the first time on the land of Cyprus in Paphos. The place that in the year 45 BC Saint Paul attended and where he converted a resident of the island to Christianity for the first time. The delegation arrived by Airbus plane of the Italian airlines  Alitalia, decorated with the flags of Cyprus and the Vatican. Dressed in white ceremonial robes, red shoes and in good health of the Pope stepped on the Cypriot land. The Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, his wife Elsie, ministers, Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos, clergymen from different Christian denominations, the entrepreneur Nikos Siakolas whose corporation has built new airports in Larnaca and Paphos, businessmen came to the new airport in Paphos to meet the delegation.
"May Mary always protect you," said in Greek Benedict XVI and admitted that his visit to Cyprus, which is the first one to the Catholic Church on the separated Mediterranean island, moved him very much. At the airport the Pope consecrated a olive tree, symbol of peace and understanding among people. "We must never lose hope of peace," said the Holy Father and noted that Cyprus has been a crossroad of religions and cultures from the earliest centuries.

From Paphos airport the official cortege walked in the footsteps of Saint Paul to the ancient Church of Agia Kyriaki in the old part of the town. Exceptional security measures are provided for the land, air and water rout of the delegation from the Vatican. Several thousands  of believers had gathered around the archaeological sites to welcome Benedict XVI. Children, adults, youths and tourists from around the world, Franciscan monks chanted "United for the Pope!", "Long live the Pope!", "Bravo, Chrysostomos!". The ceremony lasted more than an hour. The important guest was welcomed by the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos who recalled that it was in the ancient Church of Agia Kyriaki Apostle Paul made his first miracle.  
"After every act of violence, we should not lose the hope and boldness to move forward and seek the path to peace." With these words the Pope addressed the people that assembled to honour the memory of Bishop Luigi Pandoveze, spiritual leader of Catholics in Turkey, who yesterday was stabbed to death by his Turkish chauffeur. Finally, Benedict XVI blessed the  assembled people that responded him with cheers of approval of him and of Archbishop Chrysostomos.

Certain circles of the Cypriot Orthodox community protested against the visit of the head of the Roman Catholic Church on the island and even openly invited him to cancel his visit. For Benedict Sixteenth the support of Chrysostomos is very important, because it could open the door for dialogues with the other Orthodox populations in the Mediterranean region.
The visit of the Pope in Cyprus will continue until Sunday, when late in the afternoon the delegation will travel back to the Vatican. Tomorrow the guests will visit the Catholic school in Nicosia and the Archdiocese of Cyprus and the Papal Nuncio's residence in the Cypriot capital. On Sunday morning, Benedict Sixteenth will held ceremonial liturgy at the Eleftheria stadium in Nicosia.

Tags: Benedict XVI Visit Cyprus
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