Pope Francis waves to the faithful during the Angelus on Wednesday Pope Francis waves to the faithful during the Angelus on Wednesday 

At Angelus, Pope recalls Apostolic Journey to Cyprus and Greece

Following the recitation of the Angelus for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis looked back on his Apostolic Journey to Cyprus and Greece, which concluded on Monday.

By Christopher Wells

Pope Francis thanked God for his recent “pilgrimage” to Cyprus and Greece, and expressed his gratitude to all those who accompanied him with prayer, and to the people of the two “beloved countries,” including civil and religious authorities, “for the affection and kindness with which they welcomed me.”

A pearl of the Mediterranean

Speaking at the conclusion of the Angelus on Wednesday, the Holy Father described Cyprus as “a pearl of the Mediterranean, a pearl of rare beauty,” that nonetheless, “bears the wounds of barbed wire, the pain of a wall that divides it.”

He said he felt like part of a family in Cyprus, noting especially his meeting with Cypriot Orthodox primate Chrysostomos II. Pope Francis said all Christians are children of the Church of Christ, “which accompanies us, protects us, makes us go forward – brothers all!”

The Pope expressed once again his hope that Cyprus would be a “a laboratory of fraternity,” where everyone, but especially the poor, the discarded, and migrants can be welcomed. He repeated, too, that “we cannot remain silent, we cannot turn away,” from the plight of migrants. Instead, we must “look into” the eyes and faces of those who suffer, in order to overcome our indifference.

Pope Francis meets with Catholics in the parish of Holy Cross in Nicosia
Pope Francis meets with Catholics in the parish of Holy Cross in Nicosia

The memory of Europe

Pope Francis also recalled with gratitude the “fraternal welcome” he received in Greece. “In Athens,” he said, “I felt immersed in the greatness of history, in the memory of Europe: humanism, democracy, wisdom, faith.”

The Pope pointed, too, to his experience of “the mystique of the whole,” as he met with Catholic bishops and members of the Catholic community, especially during Mass on Sunday.

And he recalled “the gift of embracing” Orthodox Greek primate Ieronymos in reciprocal visits during the journey. “I cherish this fraternity in my heart,” he said, while entrusting “to the Holy Mother of God the many seeds of encounter and hope that the Lord scattered on this pilgrimage.” Pope Francis asked for continued prayers “that they may continue to germinate and flourish in trust.”

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Athens
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Athens

Guides on the path of holiness

During his remarks following the Angelus, the Holy Father also noted the conclusion of the Year of St Joseph, Patron of the Church, as well as the conclusion of the Jubilee of Loreto on Friday. “May the grace of these events continue to work in the lives of our communities,” he said. “May the Virgin Mary and St Joseph guide us on the path to holiness.”

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08 December 2021, 12:49