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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-06-06

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The head of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Benedict XVI concludes his three-day official visit to Cyprus on Sunday and returns to the Vatican.

    In the morning, the Pope will be at Eleftheria Sports Centre in Nicosia, to say Holy Mass. Hundreds of people, from all denominations, have gathered from early morning at the sports centre to attend the Mass, under strict security measures.

    The Pope, during his visit, has been given a warm welcome from the islands political and religious leadership as well as from the public, who gathered in great numbers at venues which the Pope was due to visit to get a glimpse of the Holy Father.

    Before the mass, Youssef Soueif, Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus, will address greetings to the Holy Father. At the end of the Mass, Nikola Eterovic, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, will say a few words of thanks and will invite the Holy Father to hand over the document of Instrumentum Laboris.

    After the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father will give a copy of the Instrumentum Laboris to each member of the Special Council for the Synod.

    The Pope, accompanied by Patriarchs and Bishops of the Special Council of the Synod of Bishops and members of the Papal entourage, will have lunch with the Primate of the Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II.

    In the afternoon, the Pope will visit the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Graces, in the capital Nicosia. The Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus will deliver words of greetings and the Pope will respond. A prayer to the Virgin Mary will follow. The Holy Father will then be presented with a gift.

    Later on the Pope and his entourage will leave for Larnaca Airport where the official farewell ceremony will take place.

    During the ceremony speeches will be delivered by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and the Pontiff. After that the Pope will bless an olive tree which will be planted at a later stage at a special place at Larnaca International Airport, as a reminiscence of the Popes visit to Cyprus.

    Farewells of the respective delegations will follow. The Pope and his entourage will leave the island at 1815 local time (1515 GMT).


    President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has called on the international community to exert its influence on Turkey, pointing out that it is high time that everyone realizes that compliance with international law is more important than serving the narrow interests relating to the geostrategic position of Turkey.

    In a speech at the welcoming ceremony of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the Presidential Palace, President Christofias warned that otherwise, justice and stability in the whole area of the Eastern Mediterranean will be jeopardized. The recent distressing developments in Gaza, he said, should make everyone stop and think.

    The President also stressed that Cyprus aspires to and can become a model for the civilisation of co-existence, the civilisation of the future.

    In his speech at the grounds of the Palace Garden where the civil authorities and diplomatic corps gathered, President Christofias said that it is a great honour for the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, the people of Cyprus and himself to welcome the Pontiff to the Presidential Palace, to the home of all Cypriots. Cyprus, a hospitable island, welcomes and warmly embraces You, he said.

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