14 June, 2007
The Secretary of State of the Vatican has assured the head of the Church of Cyprus that his state will support efforts by the Greek Orthodox Church to protect and restore the country's cultural and religious heritage in the northern Turkish occupied part of the island.
Secretary of State His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who met on Wednesday in the Vatican with the primate of the Church of Cyprus
Archbishop Chrysostomos II and his entourage, said he would ask Holy See representatives in powerful states that shape the nations' fate to exert pressure on Turkey and agree to help restore Turkish occupied Greek Orthodox churches.
The Archbishop briefed His Eminence on the political situation in Cyprus, saying that Turkish troops continue to occupy the island's northern part and the destruction and pillage of Christian churches carries on.
Chrysostomos II, who is accompanied by three senior bishops, visited Wednesday the Saint Peter Basilica, the chapel where the remains of Saint John Chrysostomos lie and other religious sites, including the tomb of the late Pope John Paul II.
The head of the Church of Cyprus also met with the Archbishop of Genova and other religious leaders and discussed unity among the different Churches and cooperation.
Inter-religion dialogue and the dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox Church were also part of the discussions.
This is the third time the head of the Church of Cyprus visits the Vatican. The first time was in the 13th century and the second in 1967 when the late Archbishop Makarios III visited.
Source: Athens News Agency