MARONITES ARCHDIOCESE OF CYPRUS
The presence of the Maronites on the island of Cyprus dates back to the 8th century. Their history has seen different waves of migration up to modern times and to the 1970s.
The current Patriarch, who presides over the Maronite Church Synod, is His Beatitude Mar Bechara Boutros Rai.
The archepiscopal seat has changed location a number of times: from Nicosia, to Tala. Since 1674, the Archbishop has resided in the Lebanon. In 1988, the Synod of the Maronite Church divided the Eparchy into two: in this new sub-division, the first Archbishop of Cyprus was His Excellency Boutros Gemyael, who was succeeded by the current Archbishop Youssef Soueif whose election was announced on 29 October 2008.
The archeparchy of Cyprus is relatively small regarding the number of faithful. The Maronite villages in the north of the island are Kormakitis, Asomatos, Karpasha and Ayia Marina. There are also some new parishes which have been created in the south of the island since the events of 1974. The Monastery of the Prophet Elias, dependant of the Maronite Lebanese Order, has been on the island for about three centuries.
The Maronites are an integral part of Cypriot society and have made their contribution of faith and testimony to Christian and human values.
The role of the archeparchy today is very clear in its symbolism and activity. For the Maronite Church it is a spiritual and cultural bridge between the Patriarchal territory and the Church in Europe. Its presence in the European ecclesial sphere transmits to the ecclesial reality of the continent the message of the experience of Antioch and Christianity from the Syriac tradition. The bond with the Lebanon is a spiritual source of renewal thanks to the regular pilgrimages which the faithful undertake to the symbolic places of Maronite spirituality, to get to know the Patriarchate, the monasteries, the different shrines.
The Maronite presence on the island of Cyprus is an appeal to witness to the vital and lived ecumenism in fraternity in Christ Jesus and through initiatives of charity and profound spirituality.