Friday, June 4, 2010

Pope Benedict Visits Island of Cyprus; Will Celebrate Liturgy, Visit St. Paul's Pillar

Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to arrive in Cyprus today (June 4, 2010), and remain on the island until June 6, according to the EWTN website. EWTN -- a Catholic TV channel linked to most satellite and cable networks -- will televise most of the Pope's Cyprus visit.

During his visit, the Pope will meet with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, who invited the Pontiff to visit Cyprus during a March 2009 audience in Rome.

He will also meet with a minority Catholic community -- mostly Maronite Catholics -- at St. Maron primary school's sports field at Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. Later that same day, he will celebrate Mass at Nicosia's Elefheria sports center and distribute a document, which will be the basis for a discussion during the synod of the Middle East, coming this October in Rome.

The largest religion on the island is Greek Orthodox. Archbishop Chrysostomos II -- head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Cyprus -- has publicly welcomed the Pope's visit.

The Holy Father will make history as the first Pope in modern times to visit Cyprus, known for its beautiful Christian mosaics and churches. The Pope is expected to tour the Church of Avia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa -- near St. Paul's Pillar -- after he celebrates an outdoor liturgy there. St. Paul was scourged and imprisoned there for preaching the Gospel, and the pillar that was used some 2,000 years ago remains in its original location.

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