A migrant walks near Pournara migrant reception center in Kokkinotrimithia, as a giant Turkish Cypriot breakaway flag, right, and Turkish flags painted on a mountain are seen in the background in the Turkish occupied area of divided Cyprus, Nov. 25, 2021 [AP Photo/Petros Karadjias]

Pope Francis is arranging to transfer a number of migrants to Italy from the east Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, where he is opening a three-day visit next week, a Cypriot government official said on Thursday.

Clockwise from top left: Metropolitan Bishop of Zambia Ioannis gives a Greek flag to descendants of the Vlahakis brothers. Bishop Ioannis holds a service at the hut that serves the Greek Orthodox mission in Kanima. The island of Kanima in the Zambezi River. Extended members of the clan are seen at the Vlahakis family cemetery.

It sounds like fiction but it isn’t. It includes a Greek “independent state” deep in Africa, a Greek “tribe” living in the vast forests, a Cretan revolutionary – dubbed “Jungle Zorbas” – and a Greek Orthodox cleric.


Pope Francis renewed his call for Europe to welcome and show solidarity with migrants, saying the diversity they’re bringing to the continent is renewing European cities as a “beautiful mosaic, which should not be scarred or corrupted with prejudices or hatred.”

Joe Biden, then US vice president (l), and Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, are seen during a meeting at the Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey, on December 3, 2011. [AP]

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios celebrated two important milestones this year: 60 years in the priesthood and 30 years since he assumed the mantle of spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, kisses a wooden cross before throwing it into the water during a ceremony blessing the waters at the Golden Horn in Istanbul, on January 6, 2016. [AP]

“It’s well known that Athenagoras Spyrou was elected ecumenical patriarch in 1948 thanks largely to the influence of the United States. Then secretary of state George Marshall consulted the Greek-American businessman Spyros Skouras, and Skouras recommended Athenagoras, then archbishop of America. According to Skouras, “General Marshall, in his capacity as secretary of state, had no […]


Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios will undergo an operation at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Wednesday. The Patriarch will have stents placed following a myocardial scintigraphy examination earlier the same day.


Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios will be admitted to the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York to undergo an examination on Wednesday, delaying his departure from the United States. Doctors will determine if the Patriarch requires angioplasty and stent placements.