CYPRUS welcomed Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow who arrived yesterday for an official visit at the invitation of Archbishop Chrysostomos II.
The Russian Patriarch arrived on a special flight at 12pm for a four-day visit accompanied by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Bishop Solnechnogorsk Sergei and other clergies and dignitaries of the Russian church.
The official welcoming ceremony took place at the Holy Archbishopric by the Archbishop of Cyprus, members of the Holy Synod, the clergy and members of the public.
The Russian Patriarch will be meeting President Demetris Christofias on Monday at 1.30pm.
The Cypriot Primate referred to the island’s Church relations with Russia, describing it as “always being beyond brotherly” and noted that “with the existing issue that has been affecting the nation (Cyprus) for the past 38 years, it means a great deal that a Patriarch of our allies is here”.
Expressing the warm support of the Russian Church Archbishop Chrysostomos said: “We cannot forget that our people were undergoing after rejecting the Annan Plan. The enemies of Cyprus wanted to pass it through the [UN] Security Council and the late Patriarch Alexy played a very important role in supporting the Cyprus community.”
The Russian Patriarch described Cyprus as “a blessed country”.
“I would like to express my support to the Orthodox people of Cyprus who though once lived on this island in solidarity and peace as two communities, now live divided”.
“We believe with great confidence that the development of relations between the two communities lies in the respect of traditions, the restoration of dialogue between common people and the reduction of tension,” he concluded.
Tomorrow both primates will host a liturgy in Theou Sofias Church in Strovolos, and on Monday another archiepiscopal liturgy will be held in the Holy Church of Apostolou Varnvava Dasoupoleos in Limassol.
The Patriarch will end his visit later on Monday.