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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-06-01

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>


  • [01] Patriarch conducts Toronto Mass
  • [02] Education minister meets former Congressman
  • [03] Government comments on "Sunday Times" report
  • [04] Russian ambassador describes "Sunday Times" report "malicious"

  • 1210:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Patriarch conducts Toronto Mass

    by Menealos Hadjicostis

    Toronto, Jun 1 (CNA) -- The grandeur that was Byzantium was briefly revisited Sunday, as the leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians presided over Mass at Maple Leaf Gardens.

    Tens of thousands of faithful flocked to the venerable downtown arena to catch a glimpse of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I conducting the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Fathers along with the leaders of all Orthodox churches in Toronto.

    The Toronto Mass was the highlight of the Patriarch's nine-day visit to seven Canadian cities to bolster the faith of the country's 750,000 Orthodox Christians. This is the first-ever visit of an Ecumenical Patriarch to Canada in the 2000-year history of the Church.

    Dressed in flowing, gold-embroidered crimson vestments and flanked by dozens of priests on the raised, makeshift altar resting under a hanging 10- metre lighted cross, the Patriarch evoked the liturgical splendor of a bygone Byzantine era. The cavernous arena resounded with the rich echoes of Byzantine hymns performed by four of the city's pre-eminent Orthodox choirs.

    In a brief address following the reading of the Holy Gospel, he urged the faithful to remain steadfast in their beliefs, but directed a few poignant and moving words to the young people attending the Mass.

    "I understand the pressure that you feel between right and wrong," the Patriarch said. "That although you may stumble, I want you to know that I embrace you and ask God to protect you and guide you in all your trials and tribulations. I love you without hesitation, without condition."

    Orthodox young people of all nationalities were the focus of his message during a youth rally Saturday, in downtown Toronto.

    Thousands of people converged on Nathan Philips Square in front of City Hall to hear His All Holiness encourage Orthodox youth to excel in their academic business and social endeavours. He also urged them to maintain their heritage, customs and faith in a new country such as Canada.

    Cypriot Community of Toronto Dance Group member Yiannoula Elia, 18, who was among Greek and Ukranian dance groups performing for the Patriarch at the rally, said the experience of seeing the Primate of the Orthodox Church was something unique.

    "It was something totally different. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," she said.

    Her sister Fotoula, 18, echoed Yiannoula's sentiments. "Everybody was enthused by his presence. I felt proud to be an Orthodox Christian," she said.

    Also at the rally, Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman presented Patriarch Bartholomew with an honourary plaque on the occasion of his visit to the city and declared May 30, 1998 as Patriarch Bartholomew Day.

    "I've seen many gatherings here, but I've never seen so many people and so much love," Lastman said.

    The Mayor also praised the Patriarch's sense of humour. "I've met many dignitaries, I've even met the President of the United States, but I've never met anyone as young as you sir," he told the Patriarch.

    Patriarch Bartholomew began his visit to Canada with a stop in Ottawa on May 25, where he was received by Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Governor General Romeo Leblanc.

    His tour also took him through Vancouver, Winnipeg, London and Niagara Falls. In each of the cities, he was greeted by hundreds of Orthodox Christians eager to receive his blessing.

    In all his stops, the Patriarch's charm and affable personality never failed to win over Orthodox and non-Orthodox Canadians alike.

    "We're very honoured in the city of London to receive his All Holiness for this special and historic visit. We know that it's going to be a great blessing to the entire community," Mayor Dianne Haskett told CNA.

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew wraps up his Canadian visit in Montreal Monday, where he will conduct a Memorial Service for his Godmother the late Mrs Virginia Hallas. CNA MH/GP/1998 ENDS CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY


    [02] Education minister meets former Congressman

    Nicosia, Jun 1 (CNA) -- Education and Culture Minister Lykoyrgos Kappas met today with former US Congressman John Bradimas.

    Speaking after the meeting Bradimas said he drew the Minister's attention to the work he is doing as chairman of US President Clinton's committee on art and humanities.

    "I described to him our recommendations for strengthening support, both from the private sector and the government for institutions of education and culture in the US", he added.

    Bradimas said he recommended to President Clinton to lead a "millennium initiative", under which "he can urge the American people to honour the past and to imagine the future".

    The former Congressman suggested to Kappas that Cyprus might want to take advantage of celebrating the third millennium by giving particular attention to education and culture.

    Bradimas will receive an honourary degree by Rector of the University of Cyprus, Professor Miltiades Haholiades, during a special ceremony this evening.

    CNA MK/MCH/GP/1998

    [03] Government comments on "Sunday Times" report

    Nicosia, Jun 1 (CNA) -- Leaking of information by the British Defence Ministry over plans in the event of crisis in Cyprus does not contribute to good bilateral relations, Cyprus Government Spokesman, Christos Stylianides pointed out today.

    Commenting on a "Sunday Times" report about a British contingency plan to airlift 250.000 people from Cyprus citing fears over war if the government proceeds with the deployment of Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, Stylianides stressed the government decision over the issue would not change.

    In a written statement to the press, Stylianides notes that the Cyprus government "is aware of the position of the British government regarding the delivery of the S-300 missiles to Cyprus".

    He points out, however, that "the British government was officially informed for the purchase of the missiles as well as the Cyprus government's prerequisites which would make their delivery unnecessary".

    The Cyprus government has repeatedly stated that this defensive system will not be deployed if there is substantial progress in efforts towards a Cyprus settlement or agreement for the demilitarisation of the island.

    The Spokesman described the leaking of information by the British Defence Ministry about plans they have developed in the event of a crisis in Cyprus as "unusual" and points out that:

    "The Cyprus government believes this step was taken as leverage for the cancellation or non delivery of the missiles to Cyprus."

    He also expresses the government view that "those who have leaked the information to the Press, underestimate our intelligence and determination as well as the Cypriot people's dignity".

    Concluding, Stylianides stresses that "this action will not make us change our position nor does it contribute to the good relations between Cyprus and the United Kingdom".

    CNA MM/MCH/GP/1998

    [04] Russian ambassador describes "Sunday Times" report "malicious"

    Nicosia, Jun 1 (CNA) -- The Russian Ambassador to Cyprus, described today as "malicious" a report by the "Sunday Times" over British plans in case of war in Cyprus, because of the deployment later this year of the Russian- made defensive system S-300.

    Speaking after a meeting with Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, Georgi Mouradov said the report was "malicious and tasteless", predicting that "there will be plenty such reports in the future".

    The Russian diplomat, added however, that "there is no reason for concern".

    In a report, yesterday, the "Sunday Times" said "Britain is planing the biggest airlift since the Second World War because of mounting fears over war in Cyprus".

    In a statement, earlier, today, Government Spokesman, Christos Stylianides stressed that such actions do not contribute to good bilateral relations and reaffirmed the government decision to deploy the anti- aircraft missiles would not change.

    The government has repeatedly stated that the S-300 surface-to-air missiles will not be deployed if there is substantial progress over a solution to the Cyprus problem or agreement for the island's demilitarisation.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    CNA MA/MCH/GP/1998


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