6 May 2020
We, the Religious Leaders of Cyprus gather in the spirit of Easter and Ramadan!
For the first time since we started working together as the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process we are divided physically. For the first time in ten years we cannot gather together to meet in person.
With restrictions on movements in place, within and between our respective communities we are asked to stay home to save lives and not place undue burden on the health-care workers who selflessly are caring for the sick and vulnerable. This also means that our communities are divided from one another and separated from their beloved places of worship and cemeteries where their family members are laid to rest.
With the Grace of God, we are grateful that we, remain united, despite our physical separation. This is thanks to the trust we have cultivated and the confidence we have nurtured through our uninterrupted cooperation since 2011.
With pain we witness the ordeals of our communities, especially the most vulnerable groups in our society; the poor, the marginalized and the homeless. No matter where we live and which community we belong to, the insecurities, the fears, and the pain are the same.
We are thankful that the strict measures in response to the pandemic and the sacrifices made by all island-wide have not been futile. Cypriots have managed to keep the virus under control avoiding mass loss of life. In this respect, we call on our faithful to continue to abide by the directives of the state health authorities and call on the state authorities to reinforce an island-wide reflection and response post-lockdown.
This is not a time of self-centeredness, indifference, division and forgetfulness.
This is the time of real solidarity, compassion and unity. An opportunity to reflect and find ways to overcome greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding and hate. An opportunity for all to respect nature and all life in it.
Let us pray for those worst hit by the pandemic; for those who selflessly aid and care for the sick; and for a better tomorrow for all. We continue to fervently pray for Cypriots to heal the painful memories of the past and work united tackling our challenges as one.
H.B. Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus
H.E. Dr Talip Atalay, Mufti of Cyprus
H.E. Khoren Doghramadjian, Archbishop of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church of Cyprus
H.E. Youssef Soueif, Archbishop of the Maronite Church of Cyprus
Reverend Father Jerzy Kraj, Latin Patriarchal Vicar of Cyprus