Pope Travels To Cyprus

06.04.10 | FL News Team

Pope Benedict the 16th travels to Cyprus today.  He is the first Pope of modern times to visit the small island off the southern coast of Turkey that's divided mostly between Greek Orthodox Christians and Muslim Turkish Cypriots.  During the three-day trip, the Pontiff will present local Catholic bishops with a document to prepare them for an October meeting at the Vatican that will focus on the challenges facing Christians in the Middle East.  Pope Benedict will also hold an ecumenical prayer service, visit holy sites in Cyprus, and meet with the head of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus to discuss how to improve ties between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.  

It's estimated only 25-thousand Catholics live in Cyprus.  Pope Benedict's visit there comes amid high tensions in the region following Monday's deadly high-seas confrontation between Israeli commandos and pro-Palestinian activists.  The Vatican was also stunned Thursday when a Catholic bishop in Turkey was stabbed to death by his driver on the eve of the Pope's trip.  Local officials don't believe the killing was politically or religiously motivated.