Rome, Italy, Jun 3, 2010 / 02:01 pm (CNA) .- The Apostolic Nuncio to Cyprus, Archbishop Antonio Franco, said Pope Benedict XVI is visiting the country as â€śa missionary following the steps of St. Paul and Barnabasâ€ť and will promote "a new effort to bring to a positive conclusion the peace process and reunification of the island.â€ť
In an interview with Lâ€™Osservatore Romano, the nuncio said the situation in the Middle East is of great concern to the Holy Father. â€śCyprus represents, in miniature, the problems of the region: the co-existence of different religions, the relationship with Islam and territorial issues.â€ť
From the ecumenical point of view, the nuncio said there is much hope that Pope Benedictâ€™s visit will advance relations with the Orthodox, who are the religious majority on the island. â€śOrthodox Archbishop Chrysostom II has already expressed his satisfaction more than once,â€ť and â€śhe has repeatedly sought to understand the profound meaning of this trip which, while motivated not only by ecumenical reasons, will certainly bear fruit for the future development of dialogue.â€ť
Archbishop Franco also referred to the enthusiastic expectations of Catholics ready to welcome the Pope: â€śLetâ€™s be clear, this is a small communityâ€ť of only 25,000 people from 12 parishes. â€śI think that thanks to the positive attitude of his Beatitude Chrysostom II, many Orthodox will also be present at the events with the Pope.â€ť The nuncio also underscored that Catholics and Orthodox have been working together to give the Pope â€śa decent reception.â€ť
â€śThe wait is very lively ... All are hoping that his visit brings an air of peace and a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation,â€ť the nuncio concluded.