VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The schedule for Benedict XVI’s June 4-6 trip to the island of Cyprus has been confirmed, including a lunch with Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostom II.
The Vatican press office published the schedule Saturday.
The Pope leaves Rome on Friday morning, June 4, arriving in Cyprus at 2 p.m.. He will give his first address at the airport during a welcome ceremony.
That afternoon, he will participate in an ecumenical celebration.
The next day, June 5, at 9:15 a.m., the Holy Father will pay a courtesy visit to the president and later meet with civil authorities and the diplomatic corps, and give another address.
Later that morning, he will meet with and address the Catholic community of Cyprus.
Shortly after noon, he will pay a courtesy visit to Archbishop Chrysostom II and have lunch with him.
At 5:30 p.m., he will celebrate Mass with priests, religious and other Church representatives. He will also give the homily.
The next day, Sunday, June 6, he will celebrate 9:30 a.m. Mass in the Elefteria Sports Palace of Nicosia. At that event, the working document of the synod of bishops for the Middle East will be presented. After Mass, he will pray the midday Angelus.
There will be a 1 p.m. lunch with the patriarchs and bishops of the synod of bishops’ Special Council for the Middle East. Archbishop Chrysostom II will also attend.
At 4 p.m. there will be a farewell at the apostolic nunciature and then a visit to the Maronite Cathedral of Cyprus, where the Pope will give a greeting.
At 5:45 p.m., there will be a farewell ceremony in the airport and at 6:45, the Holy Father leaves for Rome.
The three-day trip will give Benedict XVI a chance to address several of the priorities of his pontificate. In addition to presenting the working document for the October synod, he will also focus on ecumenism. The Orthodox archbishop of Cyprus has been a powerful voice of unity since his election. And since the island is divided with the Turkish presence in the north, it will also give Benedict XVI another opportunity to foster dialogue with Islam.
The island has a population of 800,000, 78% of whom are Greek-Orthodox and 18% Muslims.