The Orthodox Church Info Blog reports today (June 5, 2010) that the head of Cyprus' Orthodox Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, said "Turkey has barbarously invaded and conquered by force of arms 37 percent of our homeland," while addressing Pope Benedict XVI who is on a pilgrimage in Cyprus.
Chrysostomos also said the Turks had "ruthlessly sacked" Christian artworks, asserting they were seeking to make Greek and Christian culture disappear from the north. He urged the Pope to help ensure protection of the sacred Christian monuments in a struggle against the Turks.
The Pope did not respond to the archbishop's remarks. Instead -- in his comments at an archeological site where St. Paul is said to have preached in the first century and to have been whipped by Roman soldiers -- Benedict spoke of an increased co-operation between Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians.
Christianity became divided in the Great Schism of 1054, which saw the Christian Church torn apart into Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Recent meetings between Catholic and Orthodox hierarchs -- such as the Pope's current visit to Cyprus -- have resulted in a rapprochement with a more harmonious and spiritual relationship between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Consequently, a reunification of one Christian Church may be achieved in the near future.