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May Cyprus from a divided island become a workshop of fraternity, Pope Francis says

May Cyprus from a divided island become a workshop of fraternity, Pope Francis has said, criticising the prevailing indifference to the suffering of all those who are forced to abandon their countries in perilous journeys chasing their dreams.

The Pontiff wrapped his historic journey in Cyprus with an Ecumenical Prayer with Migrants at the Parish Church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia.

Addressing the migrants Pope Francis said they managed to reach this island but wondered “how many of your brothers and sisters were left halfway.”

“How many desperate persons begin this journey under difficult and perilous conditions and are not able to reach their destination? Can we talk of this sea that has become a large graveyard? Looking at you I see the suffering of this course,” he said speaking through an interpreter.

The Pontiff also criticized the indifference shown by people who get used to these tragedies happening around them. “This is a very serious disease with no antidote and we should fight this habit to these daily tragedies happening around us,” he added.

He also apologised because he stated the facts “but we cannot stay silent, we cannot look elsewhere in this culture of indifference.”

Turning to Cyprus, the Pope expressed hope that “this island, marked by a painful division with the grace of God becomes a workshop of fraternity.”

Stating that due to its geographical position, Cyprus facilitates the arrival of migrants, the Pontiff noted that the number of persons arriving on the island surpass its capacity to provide support to the rising migrants.

“The geographical position facilitates the arrival of people but things are not easy and we must understand the limits,” he added.

The Pope also listened during the event to personal stories from migrants who arrived in Cyprus.

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