Benedict XVI to Visit Cyprus in 2010

Local Church Expresses Joy at the News

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NICOSIA, Cyprus, OCT. 2, 2009 (  Benedict XVI will visit Cyprus next June, a communiqué of the country’s government announced today.
The Pope accepted the invitation that the Cypriot president, Demitris Christofias, extended last March 27 when he was received in the Vatican.
One of the main topics discussed during that meeting was ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.
In that audience, the president also informed the Pontiff of the condition of numerous Christian churches and buildings in the north of the island, in the area governed by the Turks, which have been destroyed.
Vatican Radio reported that the local Church in Cyprus has received with joy the news of the Papal visit.
Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Joseph Soueif, Maronite archbishop of Cyprus, and Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, expressed their great delight over this trip of Benedict XVI.
The radio program explained that Cyprus is currently playing an important role in the theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox.
In fact, the International Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church will meet in Cyprus for its 11th plenary session Oct. 16-23.
The Church leaders will examine a draft document outlined during a 2008 meeting in Crete. At present, the commission is reflecting on the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church in the first millennium — before the Great Schism of 1054.
A British colony until 1960, Cyprus was divided after its independence between the ethnic Greek and Turkish populations. After a series of clashes between the two communities, in 1974 an attempt to annex the island to Greece prompted Turkey to invade the North of the country. This region later became the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is not recognized by the international community.

The country, comprised of approximately 78% Greek Orthodox and 18% Muslims, joined the European Union in 2004.

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