Pope arrives in Cyprus on 1st leg of Apostolic Journey
Pope Francis has begun his apostolic journey to the eastern Mediterranean region, flying first to Cyprus in his two-nation visit. Accompanying him on the 3-hour flight from Rome on an A320 plane of Italy’s new state-owned flag carrier ITA Airways, were 77 journalists, 7 of them from Cyprus and Greece. Pope Francis greeted and thanked them for their company. “It is a beautiful journey, and we will also touch some wounds,” he told them. “I hope we can all welcome all the messages we will find,” he added.
Arrival in Larnaca
The papal plane touched down Larnaca Airport of Cyprus at 3:00 pm in the afternoon, coming to a halt in front of the “Head of State Executive Terminal”. The Apostolic Nuncio to Cyprus Archbishop Tito Yllana went up the steps to greet the Pontiff inside the aircraft. Awaiting him on the red carpet on the tarmac at the foot of the steps was the Speaker of the House of Parliament, Annita Demetriou, accompanied by 3 children in traditional dresses, who offered him bouquets of flower in welcome. Present also were also several Church dignitaries. After the guard of honour to the playing of band music, the Pontiff and the President of the Parliament introduced members of their respective delegations Present on the tarmac were also many children holding the Vatican and Cypriot flags, whom the Pope greeted as they cheered: "We love you". One of them held a banner with the words, "Pope Francis, symbol of peace". There were no speeches at the airport but the Pope and Demetriou talked for a while inside the terminal. The Holy Father was then driven some 50 kilometres in a Fiat 500 car to Our Lady of Graces Cathedral in the capital Nicosia, the see of the Maronite Catholic Archdiocese of Cyprus, where he was to address priests, religious, deacons, catechists and ecclesial associations and movements of Cyprus. Source
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