Brief description of the meetings and sermons of Pope Francis on the Thirty-fifth Apostolic Journey from noon on the 3rd to the 4th of December.
Monsignor Joji Vadakara, Vatican City
Here is a summary of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Cyprus and Greece from December 2 to 6.
Summary of the trip so far
Pope Francis was in Cyprus on December two, three and four.
Time in Cyprus and Greece is three hours and thirty minutes behind Indian time.
On his departure from the Vatican on the morning of December 2, Pope Francis arrived in Cyprus at 4 pm, where he addressed the congregation at the Cathedral of the Mother of Grace, Nicosia, Maronita Church. Later in the day, at 6 pm, he met with the President of Cyprus at his palace, as well as with political officials, members of the public, and diplomats from various countries visiting Cyprus.
On December 3, at nine o’clock in the morning, Pope Francis met with the Synod of the Orthodox Church in the Cathedral of the Orthodox Church in Nicosia, Cyprus. Then at ten o’clock the GSP in Nicosia itself. The pope offered the Holy Eucharist in the stadium. So far we have heard the descriptions through the broadcasts of the last few days.
At 4:00 pm local time on December 3, Pope Francis will deliver an Ecumenical Prayer in the presence of refugees, and at 11:45 a.m. on December 4 in Greece, he will deliver a keynote address to the political authorities, civil society representatives, and diplomatic representatives of various countries in Greece.
At three-thirty in the afternoon on December 3, the pope went to the parish church in the name of the Holy Cross in the same complex where the nunscher exists in Cyprus. Built in the year 1642, this church is located within the old walls of the city of Nicosia. The church was later rebuilt in 1900 and 1989, and is home to a monastery of Franciscan priests.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, His Eminence Pierre Baptista, received the great pastor of this church, which is important to the Catholic faithful in Cyprus. After the welcome address by the Patriarch, the second chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, verses 13 to 22, was read in English. This passage is written by the apostle Paul about Christ who transcends divided peoples, transfigures and transforms them into sanctuaries of the Holy Spirit. Following that, there was the testimony of a member of the Caritas organization in Cyprus. After the prayers mixed with music, four young immigrants from different places testified about their lives.
This was followed by a speech by Pope Francis, an important part of the Ecumenical Council.
After the Pope’s meaningful sermon on the life to be possible on this earth in brotherhood and friendship, the Eucharist was followed by the Lord’s Prayer. Then the Holy Father blessed everyone. The church was home to hundreds of immigrants. The meeting lasted for more than an hour.
After a private visit with the consecrated ones following the services at the church, the pope returned to Nunescher and rested for the night after dinner.
Travel to Greece
At 6.30 am on December 4, the last day of his apostolic journey in Cyprus, the Pope made the Holy Sacrifice at Nunescher, bid farewell to the people there and to the benefactors of Nunescher, and departed for Larnaca International Airport at 8.15. The airport is about 50 km away. Arriving at the airport at 9.10 am, the Pope was received by the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, as the VIP there. Received at the store. The pope, who was released after a private conversation with the two, was given a military salute. After receiving greetings from various delegations, the pope left Larnaca Airport in Cyprus at 9:30 am local time and landed in Athens Airport, Greece, 895 km northwest. After a journey of one hour and forty minutes, the Pope landed in Greece at 11.10am local time.
Greece, with a population of over one million, has about 130,000 Catholics. There are eleven church units here, including archdioceses and dioceses. There are 79 parishes, 94 priests, and more than 100 nuns in the Catholic Church in Greece. In April 2016, Pope Francis also visited Greece.
The plane carrying the Pope arrived at the Athens airport in an area reserved for official ceremonies. Upon arrival at the airport, the Pope was greeted by the Apostolic Nuncio to Greece and the Head of the Protocol Section in Greece. His Apostolic Nuncio is His Holiness Savio Hon Tai Fai, who was appointed by Pope Francis to Greece in 2017.
The Greek foreign minister arrived to receive the pope under a plane. Children dressed in traditional costumes presented flowers to the pope.
At 11:35 a.m., after a routine military parade and introductions by various delegations, the Pope left for the Presidential Palace in Athens, about 31 miles[31 km]from the airport.
City of Athens.
Athens is the capital city of Greece and has a population of about 31 million. This ancient city is located on a circular plain bordering the Gulf of Aegina and the mountains. It is believed that people lived here as early as three millennia before Christ. The city of Athens derives its name from the ancient goddess Athena. Athens is the political, economic and cultural center of Greece, a country known for its art and philosophy.
Archdiocese of Athens
Athens is an archdiocese of about forty-seven thousand square kilometers. On July 23, 1875, the Archdiocese of Athens restored the Holy See to the Catholic community in the city. The Archdiocese is presided over by His Holiness Theodoros Contidis. More than sixty one million people live within the borders of this archdiocese. About one million of them are Catholics. There are fourteen parishes and another church, and there are eighteen parish priests, seventeen other priests, and five permanent deacons. Thirty – four are members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and thirty-eight are nuns.
Palace of the President.
The official residence of the President of Greece is a palace built in 1897. Until 1913 it was the official residence of the Crown Prince, located in the heart of Athens, near the Parliament House and the National Park. It is located on an area of about six and a half acres, including a large garden.
Meeting with the President
The Pope was received at the Presidential Palace at 12 noon by Greek President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Elected President of Greece in January 2020, Ms. Sakellaropulu is the first woman president in the history of Greece. He graduated in law from the National University of Capodistriana in Athens and later studied law in constitutional law at the Sorbonne University in Paris.
After the official photo and military salute, the national anthems of the two countries and the introduction of the delegates took place.
From 12.15 a private meeting between Pope Francis and the President of Greece was held.
Meeting with the Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of Greece Shri. The pope also had a private meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Athens, Harvard University in the United States, and a master’s degree in international relations from Harvard University, from where he holds an MBA. He has been active in politics since 2003 and was elected Prime Minister of Greece in July 2019.
After a private meeting with the Prime Minister, Pope Francis returned to the first floor with the President, and at 12.45 pm delivered a public address at the Presidential Palace to Greece’s political authorities, civil society representatives, and diplomats from various countries to visit Greece.
After the pope’s speech, the Greek president and pope arrived at the Byzantine hall, where the chief guest signed a memorandum and exchanged gifts.
Then at one o’clock in the afternoon the Pope set out for the Apostolic Nuncio, about six miles[6 km]from the Presidential Palace.
At 3.45 pm, Pope Francis traveled to the Orthodox Archdiocese of Greece, about seven miles[7 km]from the Apostolic Nuncio, to meet with Father Ironimos II, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church.