NewsLocalPope Francis’ upcoming visit to Cyprus important for all of island's communities

Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Cyprus important for all of island’s communities

Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Cyprus is important for all communities on the island and the region at large, according to Yiannakis Moussas who represents the Maronite religious group in Parliament.

“Pope Francis` visit to Cyprus is a very important event not only for the Maronite and Catholic community of Cyprus, but also for the whole of Cyprus and the region at large,” he told the Cyprus News Agency in an interview.
“The Pope`s visit to Cyprus sends a resounding message. First of all, the pontiff`s visits are a source of hope and optimism both for those who receive him and for the wider region,” he added.

The visit will take place from December 2 to 4. This is the second time that a Primate of the Roman Catholic Church will be visiting Cyprus after Benedict XVI in 2010.

Moussas also said that Pope Francis is regarded as “the Pope of the poor and underprivileged” and therefore he is expected to give weight to these issues while in Cyprus.
There has been a coordinated effort with the Holy See, the Presidency of the Republic and the Cypriot government in order to organize an excellent visit, he added.

Referring to Maronite Cypriots I particular, he said they maintain close ties and communication channels with the Holy See.

Before the Turkish invasion of 1974 the Maronites lived in three villages in the district of Turkish-held Kyrenia – that is Kormakitis, Asomatos and Karpasia. As well as in the village of Ayia Marina located in the district of Nicosia.

“What we are requesting and asking for is immediate return of the people to the villages. Because without return to our villages, without our land, there is no possibility of long-term survival of the Maronite community”, he said.

Moussas underlined that Maronite Cypriots should be allowed to return to their occupied villages in Asomatos and Ayia Marina even before a solution of the Cyprus problem.


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