Pope Francis made a special mention during Wednesday’s general audience to the late Archbishop Chrysostomos II, who passed away on Monday aged 81 after a long battle with cancer.
The Holy See’s official newspaper Vatican News reported that the Pope said he remembered with “grateful affection” the fraternal meetings he held with the archbishop during his visit to Cyprus in December 2021.
“He was a far-sighted pastor, a man of dialogue and a lover of peace, who tried to promote reconciliation between the different communities of the country,” he said.
As president of the Holy Synod, Chrysostomos had participated in the funeral of Pope John Paul II and in the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI’s in 2005, and in response to the gesture, Benedict XVI sent a delegation to the ceremony of his enthronement in 2006.
Chrysostomos met with Pope Benedict XVI three more times – in June 16, 2007, when they signed a Joint Declaration during a visit to the Vatican, June 5 2010, and on 28 March 2011, again in the Vatican.
Bonds between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church of Cyprus were further strengthened with Pope Francis’ visit to Cyprus last year, where he met the late Orthodox Primate and the Holy Synod, thanking the late archbishop for his “open heart” and for his commitment to promoting dialogue between the two churches.