The Vicar General of the Maronite church in Cyprus Ioannis Orphanou has died, it was announced on Saturday.

In a statement, the church said it was informed of the news on Friday.

“His modest office, in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Graces, next to the Paphos Gate in Nicosia, where he served as vicar general, was always open to any person who needed to talk, settle their affairs or seek spiritual guidance and comfort.

His loss leaves a great void,” the church said.

Orphanos had served the Maronite church for 60 years, alongside three archbishops in which he operated as the link between the Maronite and Greek Orthodox church of Cyprus.

At the same time, he stood by the side of all Cypriot Maronites, wherever they lived, the church said.

Particularly after 1974 when Maronites became refugees, “he stood by every displaced person with exemplary love.”

At the same time, the vicar general played a key role in creating a new parish in Anthoupolis, where he served in the early 1980s, with the construction of the church, kindergarten, school and club.

Pope Francis had honoured the Vicar General with the title of Protonotary Apostolic for his service to the Maronite church.

The funeral will take place on Sunday at 4pm at the Cathedral Church of Our Lady of Grace at Paphos Gate, Nicosia.