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Cyprus Divided Island

‘Religion can catalyse political solutions’, says Maronite archbishop

Maronite Archbishop Joseph Soueif presenting President Anastasiades with an icon depicting Saint Maron

FAITH and politics should not mix, but religion can catalyse political solutions because every house of God is a house of forgiveness and love, the Maronites’ Archbishop Joseph Soueif said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, Soueif was asked whether Cyprus’ Maronite community is facing problems in holding liturgies in the Turkish-held areas.

“We have renewed our faith,” he replied.

“There are difficulties, but the message from them is that faith and prayer must be everywhere, always – because this faith can help society and all communities in Cyprus find a space of love and reconciliation. Otherwise, things will go very wrong tomorrow.”

The Maronite community, the Archbishop added, has asked to hold liturgies in the villages that have been designated military areas by the Turkish army, but noted that, while the Ayios Antonios liturgy was not held in Kythrea, it will be held on Saturday.

“If we keep religion and politics apart, this can help politics move forward, because a cathedral, a mosque, every house of God, is a house of forgiveness, a house of love,” he said.

Faith, he said, is a space of love, prayer is freedom.

“I believe and hope that we in Cyprus can move forward along this line, where religion can help build a better tomorrow on the island,” he said.

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