The President said the Republic of Cyprus and the Holy See have established relations of concrete substance and trusting dialogue, based on our shared values of religious freedom, peace, equality, democracy and respect for Human Rights.
He noted that the excellent bilateral relations between Cyprus and the Holy See have been reaffirmed during the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Cyprus, in 2010, which apart from underlining our strong ties has marked the beginning of a new era in our relations. Moreover, it was a great honour and pleasure for me to pay two official visits to the Holy See, during my tenure, and have meetings with His Holiness, whereby we had the chance to discuss important issues of mutual interest and explore ways of promoting further our fruitful cooperation, he added.
Furthermore he thanked the Holy See for embracing and supporting the Dialogue among Civilizations and Religions and reiterated “our strong determination to contribute to this Intercultural and Inter-religious process.”
Presenting his credentials Archbishop Lazzarotto said that “unfortunately, on its own land, and still today, Cyprus continues to experience the hardships of unresolved issues that leave open wounds and cause suffering.”
“The Holy See is well aware that your country is committed to the search for a peaceful and just solution through dialogue and negotiations. We all know that, on this island and beyond, it is the ardent wish of many men and women of good will that no effort is spared towards achieving this goal. I wish and pray that before long we will be able to witness a significant breakthrough in the present stalemate,” he added.
He also referred to the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU and noted that by acceding to the European Union, Cyprus opened a new way of interpreting more effectively its role within the context of Europe. This also offered an opportunity to bring Cyprus’ action beyond the European borders towards the international community and add its qualified contribution for development, peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding among the nations, he said.
More photos from the official ceremony below.