NEWS

Patriarch says gates open

In a sermon that had some of the congregation in tears, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios yesterday welcomed the first Greek Cypriots to visit Istanbul since a 40-year ban on their entering Turkey was lifted. Some 300 doctors and nurses who were attending a conference in northern Greece crossed into Turkey on Thursday and visited the Phanar yesterday. «God has deemed it right that the doors open, that the walls fall and religions move forward toward a happier future,» Vartholomaios said. «This pilgrimage gives us hope for harmonious cooperation between Turkey and Greece as well as for Cyprus,» he said. «Turkish people are very hospitable. Don’t be afraid to come to Turkey now that the gates are open,» he added. «We congratulate all the protagonists of these positive developments, whoever they are – Christians, Muslims, Greeks, Turks – because they are the peacemakers who are building unity and peace and carrying out the work of God.»