On 26 January 2024, the new seat of the Apostolic Nunciature on Cyprus was inaugurated, in the presence of Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, substitute of the Secretary of State, Archbishop Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, Apostolic Nuncio in Jordan and Cyprus, Mons. Mauro Lalli, Chargé d’Affaires for Cyprus, fr. Bruno Varriano, Patriarchal Vicar, and numerous religious and civil authorities of the island. The ceremony was also attended by the Custos of the Holy Land, fr. Francesco Patton.
The Apostolic Nunciature in Cyprus
The apostolic delegation, erected in Cyprus in 1948, became a nunciature in 1973 and was resident with the Franciscans of the convent next to the Latin church of the Holy Cross, the only parish of the Latin rite in the capital. Pope Francis stayed here during his visit in 2021 and so had Benedict XVI before him, the first Pope in history to set foot on the island.
The nunciature has had an independent seat of its own for about a year now and it was officially inaugurated yesterday.
“The inauguration of an independent seat of the nunciature,” clarified the Custos of the Holy Land, “indicates the growing importance of the Catholic Church and its importance for Cyprus, considered in the wider perspective of the changes that have recently involved the island. For a long period the Delegate of the Custos of the Holy Land on Cyprus was also the Patriarchal Vicar and at the same time carried out the functions of secretary of the nunciature, while today these are three distinct figures.”
“Now, with the opening of the new nunciature, at the same time as the presence of the Holy See diplomat, Mons. Mauro Lalli as chargé d’affaires and of the Patriarchal Vicar, fr. Bruno Varriano – recently appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Cyprus by the Pope – the friars have gone back to carrying out their exclusive and primary duties on the island, linked to the pastoral care in the Latin parishes of the island, the pastoral care of migrants and refugees and education, through the Terra Sanctum School, which is the oldest school on the island. Having always been committed to fighting poverty and abandonment through their educational role, their pastoral work is fundamental at this time in history which sees a considerable numerical increase in the communities, due to the presence of many immigrants and refugees.
At the service of human fraternity
“A house of meeting, fraternity and hope, a treasure chest of dialogue, charity and peace,” said Mons. Peña Parra, substitute of the Secretary of State, who passed on the Pope’s “warm” greeting to those present. “The nunciature is “the Pope’s house” in a specific country and as such is invited to foster a climate of familiarity and fraternity.”
“In his speech,” fr. Francesco Patton emphasized, “Mons. Peña Parra recalled how every nunciature should be “a centre where human fraternity is promoted”: this is important especially on this island, which for about twenty years has been concerned by massive immigration and where the number of refugees in proportion to the local population, reaches the highest value, compared to the European average.”
Photo credits © Salpy E. Weiderud Cyprus