Religions should unite people and not divide them, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday after meeting with the head of the Church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos.
“Enlightened spiritual leaders must stand up to hatred because religions are there to unite people and not divide them,” he said following a 30-minute meeting.
Tsipras, an avowed atheist, praised the work of the Church of Cyprus and thanked Chrysostomos for the help it provided vulnerable groups in Greece.
“The Cypriot Church stood by the side of the weak members of Greek society, the Greek people, who has been suffering for the past four years because of the crisis,” he said, adding that Cypriots were also experiencing the same effects.
Chrysostomos wished Tsipras all the best.
“His success will be the success of the Greek people,” the archbishop said.
Earlier on Monday, the Greek prime minister laid a wreath at the tombs of the EOKA fighters who died during the struggle against colonial ruler Britain, between 1955 and 1959.
Tsipras was given a tour of the grounds, which are known as the Imprisoned Graves and are housed in the Central Prison compound in Nicosia.
“The heroism and sacrifice of the fighters of the Cypriot struggle is an indelible source of inspiration for Hellenism,” Tsipras wrote in the visitors’ book.
“The freedom fighters’ vision of a united Cyprus, free from occupation troops, remain ever relevant. The same goes for our yearning to see the Cypriot people free and united again, looking to the future with optimism.”