Final preparations in Cyprus for the Pope’s visit

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Final preparations are being finalized in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia ahead of a visit by Pope Francis which is due to start on Thursday.

By Nathan Morley, in Nicosia

Final preparations are being finalized in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia ahead of a visit by Pope Francis which is due to start on Thursday.

For the government of Cyprus, this visit constitutes a historic event.

According to the deputy spokesman of the Cypriot government, 77 reporters will accompany the Pope’s mission, while more than 200 journalists have been accredited to cover the event.

Although this is a brief trip, the final official program features several events, including a mass at the GSP Stadium on the outskirts of Nicosia, a favorite venue for international soccer matches.

Hundreds of Catholics, many from across the Mediterranean region, are expected at the event.

Events

Pope Francis will also meet with refugees and immigrants, followed by ecumenical prayer at the Catholic Church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia, a unique parish church where Mass is celebrated in eight different languages.

During the trip, the Holy Father will visit the Presidential Palace, where he will be welcomed by President Nicos Anastasiades who is expected to brief him on the protection of cultural heritage, efforts to promote interreligious dialogue, the “Cyprus problem” in course and the issue of migration and refugees and human rights.

The challenges facing the world due to the new outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic will also be addressed.

Pope Francis will then visit Archbishop Chrysostomos II, head of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, and hold meetings with leaders of the island’s Catholic Church.

This is the second papal visit to Cyprus, following Benedict XVI’s successful trip in 2010 to strengthen ties between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Pope Francis will leave Cyprus on December 4 for Athens.

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