Pope Francis, on the second day of his apostolic visit to Cyprus, called the Mediterranean island a “pearl of history and faith.”
“We must always pursue the path of dialogue,” Francis wrote in a golden book of commemoration kept at the Orthodox Archdiocese of Cyprus in Nicosia ahead of a meeting with the Holy Synod, the highest decision-making body of the Greek Orthodox Church, at the Orthodox Cathedral. Francis thanked Archbishop Chrysostomos II, the leader of Cyprus’ Greek Orthodox Church, for his reference to the need for dialogue.
The pope concluded his dedication with the words “frankness and patience,” written in Greek.
Francis will preside over an ecumenical prayer service with migrants later in the day.
The island has been divided along ethnic lines since a 1974 Turkish invasion.
Upon his arrival on Thursday, Francis urged Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to resume peace talks, saying threats and shows of force only prolong the “terrible laceration.”
“Let us nurture hope by the power of gestures, rather than by gestures of power,” he told Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and other officials at the presidential palace.