.- Addressing the leader of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus at noon on Saturday, the Holy Father highlighted the importance of supporting the Churchs in the Middle East.
Pope Benedict XVI met on Saturday with His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus after having spoken earlier in the morning with the country's president, a group of diplomats and civil authorities and Catholic families at a school.
In his brief address in St. John's Cathedral, the Holy Father thanked the Orthodox Church for its continued commitment to dialogue towards full and visible communion. He prayed that the population of the island "will find the wisdom and strength needed" to settle unresolved issues, achieve peace and reconciliation from years of inter-religious and political conflict, and ensure that the rights, including the freedom of religion, of all.
Noting the traditional consideration of Cyprus as part of the Holy Land, the Pope observed that "the situation of continuing conflict in the Middle East must be a source of concern to all Christâs followers.
"No one can remain indifferent to the need to support in every way possible the Christians of that troubled region, so that its ancient Churches can live in peace and flourish."
Highlighting the strong relations between the Churches during his address, Chrysostomos II said that the 21st century has represented an "age of dialogue, rapprochement and reconciliation," adding that the Orthodox Church of Cyprus has "decided to continue this meaningful path and full of peace because we are sure that this is our mission given to us by the will of God, full of goodness."
The Pontiff then expressed his hope in a future of ecumenical cooperation, and mutual efforts towards peace, reconciliation and stability between the island and the rest of the Holy Land. He parted by wishing "the joy of the Risen Christ" to the people of the country in Greek.
The Holy Father went on to visit the Icon Museum and other sites within the archdiocesan offices before attending a lunch with His Beatitude and returning to tye apostolic nunciature to rest before the afternoon Mass.
Benedict XVI's full remarks can be found here: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/cyprus10/resource.php?res_id=1427