Release date: July 18, 2019
Prot. No. 11/19 July 20, 2019
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As so many of you know, today marks a very significant event in the history of the Greek people and the Omogeneia. The invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish army forty-five years ago, the displacement of its citizens who became refugees in their own country, and the forced division of the island remain a grievous injustice to this day. We cannot forget that the Church of Cyprus was founded by the Apostles Paul, Barnabas, and Mark the Evangelist, and that it is a Church, whose autocephaly was decided by an Ecumenical Council (Ephesus 431 AD). This island nation, with over ten thousand years of history, has suffered much at the hands of time, and yet it endures through all manner of trial and tribulation.
Not only as Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters, but as human beings, we must pray for just and speedy solutions for Cyprus. Violence only begets violence, and powers and states that lie beyond its waters must intercede, not interfere, with the lasting peace that only the Cypriot people themselves can achieve.
On this day, when we mourn the loss of life, the destruction of monuments, and the violence that is never a solution for the human family, let us offer more than our prayers, even as we hold dear the memory of those who now lie in eternal rest. Let us engage with those in our circles who are able to help, and encourage trusted partners to offer solutions. As Americans, there is much we can do through our representative government. Cyprus is a moral issue for every person, but how much more so for us who share its faith and even its blood.
May God grant swift and righteous answers for all the people of Cyprus, and grace them with hope, reason, and a national self-interest that leads to peace and prosperity for all.
With paternal love in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Archbishop of America