Benedict XVI - Cyprus 2010
Vatican issues stats on Catholic presence in Cyprus

Vatican City, May 19, 2010 / 04:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News) .- In light of Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming trip to Cyprus early next month, the Vatican released several facts about the country's Catholic population and reiterated the historic importance of the Holy Father releasing the working document for the Middle East Synod of bishops during the trip.

Pope Benedict is visiting the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, home to 800,000 people,  from June 4-6. The country is home to 13 parishes, two bishops, and 30 religious and diocesan priests.

Despite the nation being only 3 percent Catholic and currently training only one seminarian, the Vatican reported on Wednesday that Catholic Church in Cyprus has a significant presence in the country. The Church oversees two hospitals, three health clinics, six orphanages and plays a significant role inthe education of young people.

During his visit, the Holy Father will release the “Instumentum Laboris” or working document for the Synod of Bishops' Special Assembly for the Middle East that will take place in Rome next October.

Cyprus is considered to be a focal point for Christian efforts in the promotion of peace in the Middle East, where relationships between Muslims and Christians are strained, and with the latter often facing persecution.