The Patriarch of Antioch in the province of Famagusta

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A glorious reception was reserved on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, by the holy clergy and the pious people of the free province of Famagusta to His Beatitude the Patriarch of Antioch and of all the East, Mr. John, who in the framework of his Peaceful Visit to the Church of Cyprus also visited the Holy Diocese of Constantia-Famagusta.

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The Patriarch of Antioch, Mr. Ioannis, arrived in Paralimni, the temporary seat of the Diocese due to the occupation of the city of Famagusta, at 11 in the morning, accompanied by the Archbishop of Cyprus Mr. Chrysostomos, Archbishops and clergy of the two Churches. , were welcomed in front of the Metropolitan Church of Agios Georgios the Most Venerable Metropolitan of Constantia and Famagusta Mr. Vassilios accompanied by the Holy Clergy, the Mayor of Paralimni Mr. Theodoros Pyrillis, the Mayors and co-mayors of the Municipality, representatives of the Army and the Police, organized groups, the student youth and a large number of believers.

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The Patriarch was addressed by the Mayor of Paralimni, who welcomed him to Paralimni and offered him the golden key of the city. His Beatitude warmly thanked the blessed people of God for the warm welcome and the manifestations of love for his face, without hiding his obvious emotion from the presence of people of all ages and especially the student youth. He wished "the grace of God to always think of guarding this Province and its inhabitants".

Then a procession was formed to the temple, where a Festive Doxology was chanted. Afterwards, the Most Venerable Metropolitan of Constantia-Famagusta, Mr. Vassilios, addressed the Prelate of the Old Patriarchate of Antioch. "We welcome you to the Holy Diocese of Constantia and Famagusta, a metropolitan area most of which is under occupation." "Your blessed arrival today, Your Beatitude, is a double joy for us because it coincides with the presence these days here in our Metropolitan Church of Agios Georgios of the holy icon of Panagia Soumela, who also experienced the pain of the refugee after her departure from the historic monastery of Panagia in Trabzon of Pontus, as well as the presence of the chariot of our patron and first Bishop Constantius Agios Epiphanios, this great man who with his contribution to the Third Ecumenical Council, established the autocephaly of the Church of Cyprus »And whose memory we celebrated yesterday.

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But we are humanly blessed. Blessed are you and with us the Archbishop of Cyprus, that we can not welcome you in the physical seat of the Diocese and guide you to the Monastery of the founder of our Church Apostle Barnabas and the majestic basilica of St. Epiphanius. Wish you Blessed "this holy hour of freedom and our return to our homeland" will come soon "he emphasized characteristically. In his speech, Constantius Vassilios also referred to the common apostolic tradition that the Church of Antioch has with the Church of Cyprus. He spoke, among other things, about the drama of the Christian Syrians and Arabs and the people of Syria in general, but also about the drama of the Cypriot Hellenism. Finally, he presented the Blessed Patriarch with a copy of Panagia Ayia Napa, which was made on glass especially for today. In his rebuttal, the Patriarch of Antioch thanked the Most Venerable Metropolitan Constantius for the warm welcome of him and his entourage and expressed his joy for his visit to this Metropolitan Region. He characteristically stated that "this reception will remain in their memory forever. He called on everyone to pray fervently for the suffering that is happening in Syria and wished that a solution is found soon. " Finally, His Beatitude offered a wood-carved relic as a souvenir to Metropolitan Constantia.

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At the end of the Doxology, His Beatitude blessed the faithful, who took him, reverently kissed his right hand and received his wish. Then, the two prelates, accompanied by Metropolitan Constantia, visited the ancient Monastery of Ayia Napa. At the entrance of the historic Monastery, they were welcomed by the Mayor of Ayia Napa Mr. Giannis Karousos and all together headed to the Catholicos.

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His Beatitude worshiped the copy of the holy image and embraced the holy Gospel. Then in the nearby renovated room, Panierotatos had the opportunity to refer to the history of the Monastery and how this space will be used in the near future. It is worth mentioning that the Cultural Academy "Agios Epifanios" has its headquarters in this Monastery and where a Museum and Institute of Postgraduate Studies will soon operate.

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The Mayor of Ayia Napa, Mr. Giannis Karousos, welcomed in his turn the Patriarch of Antioch, expressing his joy and the warm thanks of all the Citizens for his visit to the city of Ayia Napa, handing him the key to the city and a plaque, to which The Medieval Monastery is depicted. His Beatitude thanked the Mayor for the cordial reception while expressing his own joy that is located in Ayia Napa. Before leaving, the Patriarch signed the guest book of the Holy Temple of Panagia Ayia Napa.

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The guests then returned to the Holy Diocese of Constantia in Paralimni where an official dinner was given in honor of His Beatitude the Patriarch and his entourage.

The visit of A.Th. Blessing of the Patriarch of Antioch and All Arabia Mr. John in the Holy Diocese of Constantia-Famagusta, apart from being a historical event for the local Church, is "an honest testimony to the mutual love and close bond between the Churches of Cyprus and Antioch" features in the guestbook.